Tyler Robbins Fitness

B.Sc. Biochemistry, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT/CF-L3), USA Weightlifting Level 1

Filtering by Category: "Plyometrics"

Day 354 - P90X2 Base and Back Latest Numbers

Well, I posted my latest numbers for Chest, Back, and Balance, so here are my latest numbers for Base & Back as well:

Exercise - Round 1 reps, Round 2 reps

No Kip Pull-up - 15 reps, 13 reps

Plyo Frog Squat - 30 reps, 30 reps

Wide Leg Close Grip Chin-up - 15 reps, 13 reps

Chair Jump - 20 reps, 20 reps

Chin Pull - 16 reps, 14 reps

Plyo Lunge Press - 15lbs (each hand) 25 reps, 15lbs (each hand) 25 reps

V Pull-up - 12 reps, 10 reps

Surfer Spin (I do the "Run Stance Switch" from P90X Plyo-X) - 30 reps, 30 reps

Kippy Cross Fugly Pull - 16 reps, 16 reps

Jack-in-the-Box Knee Tucks - 25 reps, 25 reps

Quote of the day:

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress."

~ Frederick Douglass

Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com





Day 337 - Plyometric Safety Considerations

Whenever someone is exercising or performing physical activities, there are inherent dangers that accompany said activities. Plyometric exercise is no exception to this, and may even have more potential dangers involved, but usually only when certain guidelines are not followed. I have detailed some of these guidelines below and given some insight into each.

Pretraining Evaluation of the Athlete

Every individual that wishes to begin plyometric exercise should evaluate their current health and fitness status to determine if they are an appropriate candidate to follow such an intense training regimen.

Technique - Individuals should be not only physically mature, but mentally mature enough to be able to follow instructions to follow correct form and technique. For example, proper technique should be followed to maintain control of the body's center of gravity. A specific example of this would be the body's shoulders staying in line with the knees when performing jumping type exercises.

Strength - For lower body plyometrics, the NSCA recommends that an individual's 1RM squat should be at least 1.5 times their body weight in order to be strong enough to perform plyometric exercises. For upper body, the bench press 1RM should be at least the individual's body weight.

Speed - Again, for lower body plyometrics, the NSCA recommends that an individual be able to 5 reps of the squat with 60% body weight in 5 seconds or less. Upper body speed should be able to perform 5 bench press reps of 60% body weight in 5 seconds or less.

Balance - Plyometric exercises are not always done in a vertical plane, as some plyometric and agility exercises require lateral or horizontal displacements. An individual should have a good level of balance and spatial control over their body so that they reduce their risk for injury when exercising. An example of a balance test would be an individual balancing on one leg for 30 seconds without falling.

Physical Characteristics - Joint disorders, back disorders, or other disorders that affect an individual's ability to control their limbs in a controllable manner could increase the risk of injury. Not only that, but the NSCA recommends that individuals that are over 220 pounds may be at an increased risk of injury due to the immense stresses and strains placed on the body.

Equipment and Facilities

Going beyond the physical demands required for plyometric exercise, certain equipment as well as the area used should be of ideal conditions that are detailed below.

Landing Surface - As shock-absorbing as possible such as a grass field, suspended floor, or rubber mats are the best choices.

Training Area - This category is entirely dependent on the exercise being conducted. Bounding drills may require large horizontal spaces, whereas standing power jumps could be done in a small relative space.

Equipment - Boxes or platforms used for depth jumps, jumping on or off of, should have non-slip surfaces to prevent slipping and injury.

Proper Footwear - Cross training shoes are the best fit for plyometric exercises as they generally have more support for lateral movements of the feet and ankles.

Depth Jumps - This exercise in particular warrants its own category because a height of 48 inches (1.2m) is the recommended maximum height from the NSCA as jumping from a platform any higher than this could cause injury.


Quote of the day:

"Success is something you attract by the person you become."
~ Jim Rohn


Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com






Day 331 - Plyometric Age Considerations

This blog is to discuss the information that is available to us in regards to plyometric exercise for younger and older populations. Not only is plyometric exercise effective for sport performance in these age groups, but it can also be an effective exercise technique for various other reasons that I will discuss below.

Adolescents

Many research studies have been for not only plyometric exercise, but other forms of physical activity as well to determine exactly when an individual is "ready" to begin that form of exercise. In regards to plyometrics, there is no specific age or time when an individual is physically prepared to begin such an intense form of exercise, but there are definitely some information that can be shared.

Growing bones have what are known as "epiphyseal plates" (aka growth plates) that fuse together over time with the maturation of human bones. The stress placed on these plates from very high impact exercises such as depth jumps are not recommended for young individuals who still have physical maturation ahead of them, however that does not mean that plyometrics cannot be added to their training.

Let's not forget that very simply or less-strenuous forms of plyometrics such as running, jogging, jumping sports, agility type drills, are all things kids do at "play" as it is, so it is by no means necessary to deem these forms of activity as too stressful for their growing bodies.

Just as with any aged athlete, plyometrics can increase and aide in muscle and bone development as well as increase sport performance as long as the right precautions are taken.

Masters Athletes

The important thing at any age, but probably more-so as you age, is to listen to your body and only exercise within your limits. There are many benefits that can be gained from plyometric exercise even for someone who is older, but any physical limitations should not be ignored.

For example, someone who has had a history of knee problems/surgery, should especially avoid single-leg exercises. Other precautions to be taken should include only starting out with 1 plyometric session per week, as well as the least amount of recommended ground contacts per session.

Quote of the day:

"Success is a journey, not a destination."
~Ben Sweetland


Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com





Day 330 - Plyometric Mechanics and Physiology

Plyometrics are a type of activity or exercise in which you creating the most amount of muscular force you can in a short period of time. These types of exercises use the natural elasticity of muscles as well as their reflex capabilities to create quick, explosive power. Plyometric programs have been and will continue to play a large part in training of athletes due to their tremendous applications to sport.

Below, as well as in future blogs, I will detail the important steps and safety considerations when designing and implementing plyometric training into any program.

Mechanical Model of Plyometric Exercise

If you were to take a rubber band and stretch it out, the band would develop "potential energy". If you suddenly release a stretched rubber band, the potential energy would then release very rapidly. Similar type principles can be applied to the human body. Muscles, tendons and ligaments all contain elastic properties that can be utilized in powerful, explosive, athletic actions.

The main powerhouse or driving force behind plyometric movement is known as the "series elastic component" (SEC). The SEC is partly composed of muscular elasticity, but is mainly driven by the elastic components in the tendons. Although the SEC is very similar to stretching a rubber band, there are some differences as well.

During the "loading" or eccentric phase of a plyometric action (muscle lengthening), there is potential elastic energy stored in the tendons and muscles. If there is a quick transition to the concentric or "explosive" phase, then the elastic, potential energy stored in the tendons can be utilized in the explosive action.

If, however, the eccentric phase takes too long, or the transition to the concentric phase is not fast enough, much of the stored elastic potential energy ends up dissipating as heat. This is where the plyometric action is different than a rubber band. As long as the rubber band is not stretched too far, the stored energy will remain there until released. This is not the case with stored elastic energy in the muscles/tendons however, as the muscles will simply just "release" and stretch their fibers instead.

Neurophysiological Model of Plyometric Exercise

Inside each muscle, there are proprioceptive organs called "muscle spindles". There are similar-type organs in tendons known as "Golgi tendon organs". The job of these proprioceptors are to essentially protect the muscles and ligaments of the body. They detect sudden changes in length of the muscles and tendons and will reflexively shorten in order to protect the tissues.

For example, when you go to visit the doctor for a physical, often times, they will have you sit on the edge of the examination table and have you hang your leg over the edge, relaxed. They will then take a small hammer and knock your patellar tendon just below your kneecap causing the "knee-jerk response". This is caused by the muscle spindles detecting a quick, but relatively small, lengthening of the patellar tendon, causing an immediate concentric contraction out of the thigh muscles. This is mainly an involuntary action that your body does automatically based on an external stimulus.

It is this principle that is mainly utilized when doing plyometric exercises. You are essentially training your muscles to react as fast and explosively as possible by using its own natural reflex and elastic components.

Stretch-Shortening Cycle

The stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) is essentially the main system employed during the series elastic component (SEC). The SSC is broken down into 3 main phases that I will discuss below.

Phase 1 is the eccentric or stretching phase. This is also known as the preloading phase where the elastic components of the muscles and tendons are stimulated. As the muscles and tendons go through their quick shortening phase, the proprioceptors (muscle spindles) are stimulated and the elastic energy is stored.

Phase 2 is known as the amortization or transition phase between phase 1 and 3. This is the time it takes for the signal to be sent from the proprioceptors to the central nervous system and back again to the necessary muscles to create a neuromuscular response. Ideally, this phase should be as short as possible (more on this later).

Phase 3 is the concentric or muscle shortening phase. This is when the action happens and the elastic energy is released and the muscle contracts creating a powerful, explosive action.

By adding plyometric exercises to your athletic training program, you will not only develop powerful, explosive muscles, but you can also expect an improvement in the response time. What I am referring to is making the phase 2 or the amortization period as short as possible with as quick of a transition from phase 1 to 3. The faster the transition between phases 1 and 3, the more the elastic components of the muscles and tendons are utilized and not lost as heat.

A great example of this would be the studies that have shown that adding plyometric training to distance runner training programs can improve times quite dramatically. The plyometric training will not only help the muscles improve in strength and exlosiveness, but will shorten that amortization stage, losing less potential energy to heat, and improving running efficiency.

Quote of the day:

"One secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes."
~Benjamin Disraeli



Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com





Day 328 - Plyometric Program Design

When designing an exercise program for an individual, whether it is an aerobic program, a resistance program or a plyometric program, the mode, intensity, frequency, duration, recovery, progression and warm-up period should always be thought-of and implemented. Below, I will detail each one of these categories and apply them to a plyometric program design.

Mode

When referring to the mode of plyometrics, I am referring to the body part or region that is targeted in the exercise(s).

Lower body plyometrics apply to nearly every single athletic and non-athletic movement done by the human body. Due to our fixture to the earth through gravity, our legs have much to benefit from a well-designed plyometric program which can then be applied to a number of athletic movements. Even those athletes that are not fixed to the earth (i.e. swimmers) can benefit greatly from a plyometric training program.

Although not as widely-used, upper body plyometric exercises also apply to many sports. More and more studies have shown that large, strong muscles are not necessarily the ideal solution for certain events such as throwing a baseball or a javelin. Look at Major League baseball pitchers for example, and you will see that it is not always the biggest, strongest guys that can throw the ball the hardest, but those that have the best form and have fast, explosive muscles.

Trunk plyometric exercises are generally used even less than upper body plyometrics, but that does not mean that they do not have their place in athletic training. Research has shown that trunk or core muscles do not have as much elastic properties as other areas of the body, so their training should be aimed at much smaller ranges of motion. Certain athletes can certainly benefit from trunk plyometrics however, such as those sports that require fast, explosive twisting motions such as baseball or golf.

Intensity

Generally with aerobic or resistance exercises, intensity can vary based on the amount of weight, duration, etc. that is used. With plyometric exercise, intensity is generally gauged by the amount of stress placed on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and joints. An exercise such as skipping or jogging is relatively low in intensity compared to something like a depth jump for example.

Other factors that vary the intensity:

Points of Contact - Single-leg plyometric drills are more intense than double-leg drills for example because there is more stressed placed on the single leg.

Speed - The faster an individual performs an exercise, the more stress is placed on the body.

Height of the Drill - The more vertical distance covered (higher the center of gravity), the greater the stress and force placed on the body is upon landing.

Body Weight - Obviously the more body weight an individual is carrying, the more stress is placed on the body's tissues.

Frequency

When referring to frequency, I am referring to the number of plyometric workout sessions per week (usually 1-3) or more accurately, the amount of recovery time between sessions (at least 48-72 hours).

Recovery

I cannot stress this enough when it comes to plyometric training. When using plyometrics as a performance-enhancing form of exercise, proper rest periods should be implemented in order to properly benefit from the program. Generally a 1:5-1:10 work to rest ratio should be applied to plyometric exercises as they are training the anaerobic power systems of the body.

Volume

Plyometric volume is usually measured by either the number of ground contacts or the distance traveled (for horizontal displacement plyometrics). The number of contacts per session usually starts as low as 80 (for beginners) and can progress up to as many as 140 for advanced or experienced athletes.

Program Length

Research has shown that vertical jumping distance can improve in as little as 4 weeks of plyometric training, but generally, the NSCA recommends anywhere from 6-10 weeks of plyometric training for the greatest improvements.

Progression

Plyometrics should be considered resistance training as you are training the body to be as powerful as possible. As with any resistance training program, progressive overload should be implemented to ensure that the body is constantly being challenged and therefore continuing to grow and improve. As with any resistance training program however, as intensity increases, the volume should decrease to allow proper recovery and repair.

Warm-Up

Plyometric programs should also have a proper warm-up to ensure the correct bodily systems are primed and ready for the stresses about to be placed on them. Dynamic movements should be used that are low in intensity, but mimic plyometric-type exercises to stretch and prepare the correct body parts. Examples of effective plyometric warm-up exercises include marching, jogging, skipping, agility footwork, and walking lunges.

Quote of the day:

"The surest way not to fail is to determine to succeed."
~Richard Brinsley Sheridan



Check out my new Website: tylerrobbinsfitness.com





Amazing Athleticism

Not sure if any of you have heard of Damien Walters, but I have watched quite a few of his youtube videos in the past. I have posted his 2011 video showreel below of some of his feats, but you can definitely find more on him on youtube if you are interested.

He is no doubt a very talented person, and can perform stunts that many of us cannot (and should not) do. However, I find his videos to be extremely motivating. Not in the fact that I want to go jump off the side of a building, but motivation to know just some of the things the human body is capable of!

More on Damien from wiki:

Walters participated in four Trampoline World Championships. In 2003 he was one of four members of the British team winning the World Title in the team competition.[1][2] In the years 2001 and 2007 he ranked 4th with the team. He also finished 5th in singles competition in 2003 and 2005. In addition he won the European Title with the British team in 2006, just after he was placed 2nd in team and 8th in the singles competition two years earlier.[3]

Since 2007 Walters has not participated in further tournaments and has focused on his other projects, mainly his career as a stuntman. He also appeared, however, in a number of television commercials and has performed in acrobatic shows.[4] Walters has had the role of stunt double or stunt performer in the films: Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Ninja Assassin, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, The Eagle, Steven Spielberg's I Am Number Four, Blitz, Colombiana, and Captain America: The First Avenger. In Kick-Ass, he was credited as both a stunt double and assistant fight coordinator. He will also appear in the films Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and 47 Ronin.








Plyometric Safety Considerations

Whenever someone is exercising or performing physical activities, there are inherent dangers that accompany said activities. Plyometric exercise is no exception to this, and may even have more potential dangers involved, but usually only when certain guidelines are not followed. I have detailed some of these guidelines below and given some insight into each.

Pretraining Evaluation of the Athlete

Every individual that wishes to begin plyometric exercise should evaluate their current health and fitness status to determine if they are an appropriate candidate to follow such an intense training regimen.

Technique - Individuals should be not only physically mature, but mentally mature enough to be able to follow instructions to follow correct form and technique. For example, proper technique should be followed to maintain control of the body's center of gravity. A specific example of this would be the body's shoulders staying in line with the knees when performing jumping type exercises.

Strength - For lower body plyometrics, the NSCA recommends that an individual's 1RM squat should be at least 1.5 times their body weight in order to be strong enough to perform plyometric exercises. For upper body, the bench press 1RM should be at least the individual's body weight.

Speed - Again, for lower body plyometrics, the NSCA recommends that an individual be able to 5 reps of the squat with 60% body weight in 5 seconds or less. Upper body speed should be able to perform 5 bench press reps of 60% body weight in 5 seconds or less.

Balance - Plyometric exercises are not always done in a vertical plane, as some plyometric and agility exercises require lateral or horizontal displacements. An individual should have a good level of balance and spatial control over their body so that they reduce their risk for injury when exercising. An example of a balance test would be an individual balancing on one leg for 30 seconds without falling.

Physical Characteristics - Joint disorders, back disorders, or other disorders that affect an individual's ability to control their limbs in a controllable manner could increase the risk of injury. Not only that, but the NSCA recommends that individuals that are over 220 pounds may be at an increased risk of injury due to the immense stresses and strains placed on the body.

Equipment and Facilities

Going beyond the physical demands required for plyometric exercise, certain equipment as well as the area used should be of ideal conditions that are detailed below.

Landing Surface - As shock-absorbing as possible such as a grass field, suspended floor, or rubber mats are the best choices.

Training Area - This category is entirely dependent on the exercise being conducted. Bounding drills may require large horizontal spaces, whereas standing power jumps could be done in a small relative space.

Equipment - Boxes or platforms used for depth jumps, jumping on or off of, should have non-slip surfaces to prevent slipping and injury.

Proper Footwear - Cross training shoes are the best fit for plyometric exercises as they generally have more support for lateral movements of the feet and ankles.

Depth Jumps - This exercise in particular warrants its own category because a height of 48 inches (1.2m) is the recommended maximum height from the NSCA as jumping from a platform any higher than this could cause injury.

-Tyler Robbins
B.Sc. PTS




Combining Plyometric Exercise with Other Training

Plyometrics are an effective form of exercise for specific needs, but should only play a part in a total-body exercise program. This blog will discuss the idea of effectively combining plyometrics with other exercise types either on same days or opposing days.

Plyometric Exercise and Resistance Training

By combining different training types in the same day, athletes are generally not recommended to combine heavy resistance training and plyometrics of the same body parts in the same day. Instead, by splitting upper and lower body training can become effective and efficient. For example, one day, an athlete may want to use high-intensity upper body resistance training, and should therefore only use low-intensity lower body plyometric training. The opposite of that would be the next day where the individual would then perform low-intensity upper bod resistance training and highly intense lower body plyometric training.

There are, of course exceptions to almost every rule. In one instance, an athlete could greatly benefit from combining some resistance training with plyometric training. An example of this would have the athlete using about 30% of their 1-rep maximum load in their squat jumps.

Another exception to the rule would be for highly trained individuals only. In this case, by using complex training known as "post-activation potentiation" (P.A.P.), an individual would use a weighted resistance exercise immediately followed by a plyometric or explosive exercise. Research has shown that these "complexes" are highly effective at recruiting high-threshold muscle motor units.

Plyometric and Aerobic Exercise
It should be noted that plyometric exercise, when used as power training, should be used before, and separated from aerobic exercise. However, by understanding the needs of specific athletes (basketball, soccer, hockey players), one would understand the need for the combination of plyometric exercise (anaerobic power) with aerobic conditioning, so the two forms of exercise can be combined, but the aerobic exercise can limit some of the power benefits gained from the plyometrics.

-Tyler Robbins
B.Sc. PTS




Plyometric Age Considerations

This blog is to discuss the information that is available to us in regards to plyometric exercise for younger and older populations. Not only is plyometric exercise effective for sport performance in these age groups, but it can also be an effective exercise technique for various other reasons that I will discuss below.

Adolescents

Many research studies have been for not only plyometric exercise, but other forms of physical activity as well to determine exactly when an individual is "ready" to begin that form of exercise. In regards to plyometrics, there is no specific age or time when an individual is physically prepared to begin such an intense form of exercise, but there are definitely some information that can be shared.

Growing bones have what are known as "epiphyseal plates" (aka growth plates) that fuse together over time with the maturation of human bones. The stress placed on these plates from very high impact exercises such as depth jumps are not recommended for young individuals who still have physical maturation ahead of them, however that does not mean that plyometrics cannot be added to their training.

Let's not forget that very simply or less-strenuous forms of plyometrics such as running, jogging, jumping sports, agility type drills, are all things kids do at "play" as it is, so it is by no means necessary to deem these forms of activity as too stressful for their growing bodies.

Just as with any aged athlete, plyometrics can increase and aide in muscle and bone development as well as increase sport performance as long as the right precautions are taken.

Masters Athletes

The important thing at any age, but probably more-so as you age, is to listen to your body and only exercise within your limits. There are many benefits that can be gained from plyometric exercise even for someone who is older, but any physical limitations should not be ignored.

For example, someone who has had a history of knee problems/surgery, should especially avoid single-leg exercises. Other precautions to be taken should include only starting out with 1 plyometric session per week, as well as the least amount of recommended ground contacts per session.

-Tyler Robbins
B.Sc. PTS




Plyometric Mechanics and Physiology

Plyometrics are a type of activity or exercise in which you creating the most amount of muscular force you can in a short period of time. These types of exercises use the natural elasticity of muscles as well as their reflex capabilities to create quick, explosive power. Plyometric programs have been and will continue to play a large part in training of athletes due to their tremendous applications to sport.

Below, as well as in future blogs, I will detail the important steps and safety considerations when designing and implementing plyometric training into any program.

Mechanical Model of Plyometric Exercise

If you were to take a rubber band and stretch it out, the band would develop "potential energy". If you suddenly release a stretched rubber band, the potential energy would then release very rapidly. Similar type principles can be applied to the human body. Muscles, tendons and ligaments all contain elastic properties that can be utilized in powerful, explosive, athletic actions.

The main powerhouse or driving force behind plyometric movement is known as the "series elastic component" (SEC). The SEC is partly composed of muscular elasticity, but is mainly driven by the elastic components in the tendons. Although the SEC is very similar to stretching a rubber band, there are some differences as well.

During the "loading" or eccentric phase of a plyometric action (muscle lengthening), there is potential elastic energy stored in the tendons and muscles. If there is a quick transition to the concentric or "explosive" phase, then the elastic, potential energy stored in the tendons can be utilized in the explosive action.

If, however, the eccentric phase takes too long, or the transition to the concentric phase is not fast enough, much of the stored elastic potential energy ends up dissipating as heat. This is where the plyometric action is different than a rubber band. As long as the rubber band is not stretched too far, the stored energy will remain there until released. This is not the case with stored elastic energy in the muscles/tendons however, as the muscles will simply just "release" and stretch their fibers instead.

Neurophysiological Model of Plyometric Exercise

Inside each muscle, there are proprioceptive organs called "muscle spindles". There are similar-type organs in tendons known as "Golgi tendon organs". The job of these proprioceptors are to essentially protect the muscles and ligaments of the body. They detect sudden changes in length of the muscles and tendons and will reflexively shorten in order to protect the tissues.

For example, when you go to visit the doctor for a physical, often times, they will have you sit on the edge of the examination table and have you hang your leg over the edge, relaxed. They will then take a small hammer and knock your patellar tendon just below your kneecap causing the "knee-jerk response". This is caused by the muscle spindles detecting a quick, but relatively small, lengthening of the patellar tendon, causing an immediate concentric contraction out of the thigh muscles. This is mainly an involuntary action that your body does automatically based on an external stimulus.

It is this principle that is mainly utilized when doing plyometric exercises. You are essentially training your muscles to react as fast and explosively as possible by using its own natural reflex and elastic components.

Stretch-Shortening Cycle

The stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) is essentially the main system employed during the series elastic component (SEC). The SSC is broken down into 3 main phases that I will discuss below.

Phase 1 is the eccentric or stretching phase. This is also known as the preloading phase where the elastic components of the muscles and tendons are stimulated. As the muscles and tendons go through their quick shortening phase, the proprioceptors (muscle spindles) are stimulated and the elastic energy is stored.

Phase 2 is known as the amortization or transition phase between phase 1 and 3. This is the time it takes for the signal to be sent from the proprioceptors to the central nervous system and back again to the necessary muscles to create a neuromuscular response. Ideally, this phase should be as short as possible (more on this later).

Phase 3 is the concentric or muscle shortening phase. This is when the action happens and the elastic energy is released and the muscle contracts creating a powerful, explosive action.

By adding plyometric exercises to your athletic training program, you will not only develop powerful, explosive muscles, but you can also expect an improvement in the response time. What I am referring to is making the phase 2 or the amortization period as short as possible with as quick of a transition from phase 1 to 3. The faster the transition between phases 1 and 3, the more the elastic components of the muscles and tendons are utilized and not lost as heat.

A great example of this would be the studies that have shown that adding plyometric training to distance runner training programs can improve times quite dramatically. The plyometric training will not only help the muscles improve in strength and exlosiveness, but will shorten that amortization stage, losing less potential energy to heat, and improving running efficiency.

-Tyler Robbins
B.Sc. PTS