Thursday, May 15, 2014

Top Explosive Athlete's Training Technique

Become a more explosive athlete with eccentric contraction strength training. This type of training will improve your strength in a way that will maximize your power output and reduce risk of injuries.



Strong eccentric contractions are critical for you to produce maximal power since all force production (concentric) must be preceded by force reduction (eccentric). An example would be loading up in your squat to do an explosive squat jump (a plyometric exercise).

Plyometric exercises always follow the same order: a landing phase, an amortization phase and the take off.

The landing phase starts when the muscles start an eccentric contraction. The rapid eccentric contraction stretches the elastic component of the muscle and activates the stretch reflex. A high level of eccentric strength is needed during the landing phase. Inadequate strength will result in a slow rate of stretch and less activation of the stretch reflex.

The amortization phase, the time on the ground, is the most important part of a plyometric exercise. It represents the time between the landing and the take off and is critical for power development. If the amortization phase is too long, the stretch reflex is lost and there is no plyometric effect.

The take off is the concentric contraction that follows the landing. During this phase the stored elastic energy is used to increase jump height and explosive power.

Strength train your muscles with all contraction types (eccentric, isometric, concentric). All muscles function eccentrically (reduces force or deceleration), isometrically (stabilizes force) and concentrically (produces force).

Eccentric contractions are able to produce the most tension development followed by isometric contractions and lastly, concentric contractions.

If eccentric contractions are able to produce the greatest tension development, then more time should be devoted during training for eccentric contractions to reduce the risk of injuries such as knee ACL tears and improve power.

You would train for eccentric contractions this way:

Eccentric muscle contraction weight training is the lowering phase (force reduction) of a lift.

For example, you would lift the weight (concentric or force production) for a hamstring curl for one count and lower the weight for 3-4 counts. For bench press, lift the weight for 1 count and lower the weight for 3-4 counts.

Become a more explosive athlete by training correctly for power!

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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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