Identifying Individual Strengths and Weaknesses
Obviously, the most effective type of training for a given athlete may depend on which component of strength is most deficient for that person. One might be deficient in strength yet have very well developed rate of force development. Another might be deficient in reactive ability yet have very well developed strength. Testing of these components can help define individual needs. Targeting your weakness will produce the greatest overall gains.
One question you might be asking by now, especially if you’re quite intelligent and dedicated as many readers who purchase this program tend to be, (Hey dummies don’t normally invest in improving themselves!) is, “well how do I know if I should train more for increasing my max strength or for increasing my rate of force development and reactive strength? Do I need to lift weights for more force? Do plyometrics? Improve rate of force development? Never Fear!! By the time we’re done you will know exactly what type of training will be most effective for you so all the guesswork will be eliminated. If you’re one of those guys who’s always dreamed of flying above the rim throwing down on Shaquille O’Neal, or even just getting above the rim for the first time, you probably can’t wait to see the training prescription just for you. But before we get you hopping off boxes, throwing a ton of iron around, and bounding across the gym,
there are just a few more considerations that need to be addressed.
1. Body composition – You probably already know this, but if you want to fly, you need to keep your body-fat levels in check. Excess body-fat is going to do nothing but glue you to the ground. Don’t try to get too lean, as doing so will probably leave you too weak to perform optimally, but do pay attention to your body composition. If you’re above 10% body-fat you’re going to also need to pay attention to diet and possibly do some general fitness work as well throughout the program. Here’s a way to determine your body-fat percentage.
A. First determine your waist measurement. The best time to do this is first thing in the morning. Get a cloth measuring tape and measure your waist just around your bellybutton. Don’t suck in or push your stomach out, just relax it.
B. Find your height in the left-hand column of the table below and find your weight at the top of the chart.
C. Locate where your height and weight measures intersect. This location on the table indicates the average waist measurement of someone who is 10 percent body-fat.
D. If the waist measurement of where your height and weight intersect equals the same that is seen on the table you are approximately 10 percent body- fat. Therefore, a player who is six feet tall and weight 190 pounds with a
34-inch waist is approximately 10 percent body-fat (19 pounds of fat and
171 pounds of lean muscle mass). If your waist measurement is lower, then you are below 10 percent body-fat. A higher waist measurement means you are above 10 percent body-fat. If you are above 10 percent follow sound nutritional practices until you get down to 10-percent or less.
2. Training experience – The less advanced you are the more basic your program should be. Don’t make the mistake of starting out with an advanced program if you haven’t built your training foundation. Doing so will likely cause you to overtrain and leave you weaker and less explosive. If you are relatively new to strength training or plyometrics, you’ll want to first complete the more basic programs, regardless of your current level of explosiveness. You’ll make superior progress on the basic programs and, by developing your foundation you’ll be able to get more out of the advanced programs when you finally do use them.
3. Initial strength levels – Regardless of what some of the following tests may indicate, if you haven’t built up a necessary strength base then it will be pointless to dive into intermediate and advanced plyometric drills. For this reason, one of the basic programs provides an initial phase with the focus on general strength and muscular development. One of the ultimate goals is to get your back squat and deadlift up to 1.5-2 times your body weight. If you don’t like or want to lift weights or don’t have access to weights I’ve also included a program using bodyweight exercises that will also allow you to boost your strength. If you’ve read this far and are STILL not convinced of the value of strength training I’ve also included programs utilizing only plyometric and other bodyweight drills. Now you COULD go ahead and jump in and do a more advanced plyometrics program, but you probably won’t get the full benefit or could possibly injure yourself. If you choose to do so anyway I’ll go ahead and admit that you’ll probably get superior results anyway, but you have been warned in advance!!
If you dedicate yourself to the program and follow all the tips that I offer by the end of this program, you will be stronger, bigger, faster and throwing down over Shaquille O’Neal. Ok, not the Shaq part, but maybe Shawn Bradley! Before you can throw down a dunk, you need to understand how to Jump! Ok, that was a joke! Everyone knows how to jump right? Of course they do, but have you ever wondered why people not only have
different heights of their jump but also different styles of jumping? I’ve always found the topic of individual response and variety to training a very fascinating topic and this is
what I’ve found.
If there's one thing I learned over the years working with many individuals in athletic programs and observing thousands more it’s that people have individual differences that determine what type of training routine will work best for them.
These differences range from size, strength, body structure, limb lengths, fast twitch fiber ratio, mind to muscle connections, and variable performance in tasks like lifting vs jumping. Factors such as these will predictably determine what type of program an individual does or doesn't respond to.
All these individual differences go into consideration when determining what type of methods are going to work best for you. Unfortunately, not all athletes will respond alike to a particular training routine. A specific exercise or type of exercise that may produce superior results for one individual may only produce marginal results or inferior results for another individual.
One example is an athlete with insufficient strength might experience great results from high-tension/high load exercises like the squat, while another athlete who already has sufficient strength but lacks rate of force development and reactive strength will likely find plyometrics and loaded acceleration methods work better for him. So there's really no magic bullet for everyone and anyone.
Furthermore, an athlete may find that a training method that doesn’t produce good results initially may produce excellent results at a future time as he gains strength, skill, coordination, or speed. Some training methods are good for a quick burst of improvement but over-relying on them will actually cause regression. Some exercises will plateau in their effectiveness very quickly while others should be consistent staples in the training of anyone desiring consistent progress - Other popular training methods or gimmicks should be chunked out the window.