10/27/14

Training That You're Athlete Should Be Doing

There is something special about a person who calls himself an athlete. A fire burns in his belly that needs more than admiration from his mirror to fuel the flames. Competition is like gasoline, and victory feels like a bonfire. Athletes are special indeed.

If you play a sport that uses a ball, then you probably have some sort of weight room routine to supplement your field performance - or at least you should. There are a lot of sports-performance benefits that come from resistance training such as reduced injury risk, improved strength, improved power, improved neuro-muscular coordination, and of course looking more jacked than your competitors.


Biceps aside, there should be no reason as to why you’re not getting your daily dose of iron. Knocking out some reps is always good, but there is a better way to plan your training than just mulling through the weight room.

I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but lifting heavy is not always the way to go.

I feel dirty for even thinking that.

No, I am not asking you to never lift heavy, but I am suggesting that you should lift some lighter weights – but much faster. Speed is the name of the game. As you may be able to guess, when things get heavier we are unable to lift them as fast. This is the principle of the Force Velocity curve, which states that when more force is necessary less velocity can be used and vice versa. In sports, rarely do we see a person try and move against a resistance slowly. In most cases the athlete moves his or her body as fast as possible. In other words they move at a high velocity with little force.

This is only important because high velocity training has neurological adaptations specific to high-speed movement. In other words, if you train fast you get fast.

Take Fast and Furious Tokyo drift, add a barbell, and your muscles just got on NOS. Or Diesel, whatever you prefer.
 
why not both?
The best way to train for high velocity adaptations is ballistic exercises. A ballistic exercise is when a resistance is moved at a maximal speed without ever trying to reduce its speed.

For example:
Squat Jump (with or without resistance)
Throwing (with a resistance ball, or even a barbell)
Olympic Power Lifts (Power Snatch, Power Clean, Power Jerk)

Traditionally ballistic exercises are normally done with around 35 to 45% of the 1RM. This percentage-1RM allows for a high enough velocity without being too light. Some research even suggests that performing the Olympic Power Lifts with up to 70% of the 1RM allows for peak power production.

I work with a lot of recreational, high school, and college level athletes. I like to begin most of their workouts with some form of light resistance ballistic training. We normally perform 4 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps.

 So the ballistic portion of a workout would look like this:
Squat Day – Barbell Back Squat Jump 4x3 @ 35% 1RM ; Power Clean 4x3 @ 65% 1RM
Thoracic Day – Lateral Trunk Ball Slam 6x3 ; Plyometric Push up 6x3
Run Workout – Box Jump 6x3

These of course are just examples. Ballistic exercises could be more complicated or even simpler. Nevertheless, if you’re missing ballistic exercises in your training then you’re also missing some on field performance enhancements.


Don’t squander your time in the gym. Do something right and be ballistic. Turn your muscles into bullets and explode the weights. Just remember to thank me when you give your championship speech. 

  • 1.      Comfort, P., Fletcher, C., & McMahon, J., J. (2012) Determination of optimal loading during the power clean, in college athletes. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. Vol 26 p 2970-2974.
  • 1.      Hoffman R. J., Ratamess N. A., Cooper J. J., Kang J., Chilakos A., & Faigenbaum D. A. (2005) Comparison of loaded and unloaded jump squat training on strength/power performance in college football players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Vol 19 pg 810-815.
  • 1.      McMaster, D., Gill N., McGuigan M., & Cronin J. (2014) Effects of complex strength and ballistic training on maximum strength, sprint ability and force-velocity-power profiles of semi-professional rugby union players. Journal of Australian Strength and Conditioning. Vol 22 p 17-30.
  • 1.      Tillin, Neale, Folland, Jonathan (2014) Maximal and explosive strength training elicit distinct neuromuscular adaptations, specific to the training stimulus. European Journal of applied physiology. Vol. 114 Issue 2, p 365 10p. retrieved 9/11/14.

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About Me

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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance


The Effects of Glucose Supplementation on Barbell Velocity and Fatiguability in Weightlifting - A pilot study"

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.