TrainingSTRENGTHENING EXERCISES– DO THEY IMPROVE PERFORMANCE? PART III

FasterSkier FasterSkierOctober 13, 2003

POWER STRENGTH PROGRAM – Plyometrics

The Canadian NCCP coaching manual recommends Power Strength workouts which are basically plyometric type exercises. Here is a brief review of plyometrics.

Our body constantly uses the elastic and energy storing properties of tendons and muscle. As a skier each time we stride forward and our ski hits the snow energy is stored in the quadriceps and Achilles tendons as they are loaded, this energy is then returned to provide propulsion as the lower extremity pushes off. In skiing this is termed preload and utilizes the principles behind plyometric training. Plyometric training uses the principles to provide more load and speed to exercises. Plyometrics work to both increase the speed of muscle contraction, increases the number of muscle cells that are recruited, and trains the neuromuscular pathways.

To maximize the stored energy a few things must first happen
• The energy stored must be attained actively i.e. an eccentric contraction. An eccentric contraction involves the muscle actively working and lengthening. We are typically stronger eccentrically than concentrically.
•The time between the shift from eccentric to concentric must be as short as possible to fully utilize the stored energy. You want a quick snap not a long push. The time of the transition is termed the ‘amortization’ phase.
• A shorter ‘amortization’ phase requires that quality training is the key. An athlete must stop plyometric training once the ‘snap’ begins to disappear. The snap disappears as the muscle energy storage becomes depleted. This energy system also requires 30 seconds to 3 minutes to return. Therefore an athlete must experiment with rest times to allow proper recovery to maintain ‘snap’.

A general guideline provided by the National Strength and Conditioning Association is that an athlete should be able to squat a minimum of 1.5 times their body weight before starting structured plyometric training.

Some examples of plyometric training:

Repeated broad jumps
Repeated single leg hops up a hill
Box jumps, landing the springing off jumping again
Classic balance hops
Classic preload hops
Skating balance hops
Skating preload hops
Skating cross leg hops
Broad jump repeats
Medicine Ball Upper extremity
Hop overs
Tuck Jumps
Plyoball sit ups
Marching Hops
Athletes and coaches wanting more information on plyometrics should read the bible on plyometrics written by Chu (1999) Jumping into Plyometrics. Human Kinetics. Champaign, IL.

ENDURANCE STRENGTH WORKOUT
These workout can last anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour.
Double pole only
Skiing without poles
Weight shorts skiing
Roller board
Pulleys


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