Now, lets quickly go over the intricacies of the program(s) structure so that you fully understand how the programs are structured to get you flying.
1. General Strength training – Remembering that P=FV, the goal here is to improve force and thus power. We will consider your limit strength equivalent to the maximal amount of weight you can lift for one repetition. For our purposes, the lift to focus in on will be the medium stance back squat. Unless otherwise noted, you should terminate each
set as soon as form begins to breakdown, which will generally be a couple of reps shy of failure.
For almost all but the heavy-duty lifting crowd, general limit strength is an area that will likely need some improvement. It also is an area that can be improved quite quickly as the legs contain our largest muscle groups and respond very quickly to strength training.
2. Rate of Force Development training – While there are certain types of lifts that focus on acceleration, such as lighter load movements performed with great speed and acceleration, any lift or exercise can bring about improvements in rate of force development. The key to bringing about this improvement is to lift the load as fast as possible no matter how fast the load is actually moving. Whether the load is moving fast or slow does is really inconsequential. The act of trying to accelerate the load as fast as possible will lead towards the proper adaptations in the nervous and muscular system responsible for increased rate of force development.
When you improve the ability to turn on as many muscle motor units as possible instantaneously you increase starting strength, which will enable you to begin a movement with greater proficiency. Certain types of lifts and bodyweight exercises that emphasize a start from a near dead stop are great for this. Starting strength is the ability to instantly develop force whereas rate of force development is the ability to build up to maximal force in the shortest time possible. A good example of a strength training movement that is good at developing both is a jump squat performed with a pause at the bottom. We will also use plyometric type drills of the “power” or “up” variety such as one-legged (uni-lateral) step up jumps.
Because rate of force development is so important to increasing the vertical jump, it will be included throughout all programs and phases.
3. Reactive Strength Training – Again to confuse you, known as plyometric strength, reversal strength, or elastic strength! Being able to shift a load (especially your own bodyweight) quickly from the eccentric (down) phase to the concentric (up) phase is one of the key components of developing explosive power and jumping through the roof. Exercises include various jumping, hopping and skipping exercises along with the “big- daddy” original plyometric movements depth jumps and drop (shock) jumps. Plyometrics maximize the stretch reflex, improve muscle recruitment and override CNS inhibition. Loaded full range jump squats are another exercise that will be used to developing a
quick eccentric to concentric contraction, as are any other lifts and exercises that use a quick drop and explosion. This component of training will also be included in all programs, but to varying degrees, depending on your strengths and weaknesses.