We want athletes to be explosive. Good athletes can put a lot of force into the ground and use that as a springboard to success.
Athletes that have a good first step, jump high, or get in and out of turns well are all usually considered powerful.
When we are talking about explosive athletes, we usually mean ones that develop power well. In the performance world, power is how quickly we can display strength. Power is fast.
How can we move a relatively light weight, lightning fast? We do it with power.
The difference between power and strength training is that strength training is usually a lot slower. This is not a bad thing, it is just the difference between the two. They both complement each other because weak athletes cannot display power well.
Jumping is one of the most versatile ways to train for explosiveness. The way that you program jumps can shift the focus either towards or away from your goal.
Some people are doing this without even knowing but others are manipulating it to their advantage.
Light dumbbells or bungie cords are two good ways to add resistance to a broad or vertical jump.
A resisted jump helps an athlete produce force from the ground. When jumps are by themselves the key is the take off. Getting a good push off of both legs, jumping as far as possible, and landing in the same position as the start is the basic breakdown of the mechanics.
Using resisted jumps may seem like a good idea to make the exercise harder and it does. Resisted jumps are harder to initiate the jump from. There is resistance at the start that the athlete now has to overcome. This resistance does make the landing a little bit easier because it takes off some of the person’s bodyweight.
I prefer to program resisted jumps on days where athletes are working on their acceleration. If they can learn how to produce force in the jump, they are then more likely to take it to the start of a sprint.
Using a bungie to pull an athlete in the direction they are going makes for assisted jumping. Unlike resisted jumps, assisted jumps are harder to stop.
The bungie helps pull the athlete further than they would normally jump without it and therefore requires more deceleration on the landing.
I would also say that to an extent the athlete benefits from take off because they are able to jump in less time which increases power but that is not the purpose of resisted jumping.
Resisted jumping comes out to play on deceleration days. When we are teaching athletes to slow themselves down when they are running it helps when they have had to do it with their bodyweight plus the band.
A plyometric is a jump that starts with a loading of the body, the immediate take off, and another landing.
Basically one vertical jump is not a plyometric, but two consecutive vertical jumps is one plyometric.
When we land a jump the body absorbs a lot of force in the legs. Successful athletes can redistribute this force into great power production.
Plyo training is not just any kind of jumping. There has to be a loading of the body, we then have to use that energy and redirect it back up into the air, and then land the jump again.
This might sound complicated but it does not have to be. Performing 5 consecutive broad jumps with no break in between each means that we did 4 plyometric jumps because the landing of one and going into the next is the goal of plyos.
Athletes that seem somewhat “springy” are good at using their plyometric ability.
I like to use plyos as often as I can because a lot of athletes need work in this area.
Not all jumps are built the same. Depending on what you are trying to do, a particular method of jumping may be counterproductive.