If you have been following some of my articles you should know that I’m a fan of using plyometrics and jumps in my programming for rugby players. You can read a bit more about some of my previous work here and in Part 1 of this series.
In my previous article, I discussed some of the work of Lachlan Wilmot and the system he uses to progress and prescribes his plyometric progression within a program. In this article, I will have a closer look at his three-part system and give a sheet of how I put it all together for myself.
The first part of the system is the plyometric continuum that is five progressions through plyometrics from basics to more intensive jumps.
Step 1: Eccentrics: this expresses your ability to decelerate yourself during the landing phase of the jump. Plyometrics depends on your muscle reflexing from stretch to shortening in a short period. This reflex occurs in response to a rapid stretch in the muscles. When the muscles are quickly stretched, the brain detects this
change and contracts the muscles in opposition to protecting them from any possible damage. This reflex means you are able to produce more force than would normally be possible in its absence. The stretch reflex is the season you can jump so much higher when you do a countermovement jump (rapid descent) than a squat jump (jumping only from the bottom position). This reflex depends largely on your muscles ability to turn on the brakes when its stretch, thus the eccentric portion of a jump (Landing phase) needs to be trained before moving to the more dynamic part of the jumps. Additionally doing eccentric/landing drills doesn’t only improve body eccentric utilisation, it also addresses your landing technique. A good technique during the landing is essential to prevent injuries. It’s mostly during this facet of plyometric that players get injures and need to be addressed and good technique developed before progressing in your jumps.
Step 2: Concentric Development: this will only focus on the concentric portion of the jump. Concentric development will be any jumps where there is no countermovement prior to the jump. This could either from a static position or from a seated position. I prefer doing it from a seated position like a seated box jump, the reason being is that even if you are in a static half squat position before you jump, a player always tends to do a little countermovement from that position. Concentric only jumps or non-countermovement jumps thus focus on the rate of force development from a static position.
Step 3: Jump Integration: This is where we start to combine our eccentric & concentric portion in the jumps. There is a countermovement before the jump like broad jumps and standing squat jumps. These jumps can also be referred to as countermovement jumps. The old vertical jump test with a vertex is a classic example of this.
Step 4: Continues Jumping: This is a progression from the Jump Integration by doing the jumps continuously, like repeated squat jumps, hurdle jumps continues broad jumps etc.
Step 5: Shock Method: This is when external resistance is overcome by a sharp preliminary stretch of a muscle. The increase of this muscle stretch can be done by dropping from a bench/box and then rapidly overcome gravity by jumping or hopping. The contact time on the ground is very small (<0.2m/s). Drop jumps is an example of how the shock method is done.
The second part of the system is the Plyometric Funnel which is how to builds the exercises.
1) Vector: What direction do you want your athletes to produce force & why?
- Horizontal (Sagittal plane)
- Vertical (Sagittal plane)
- Lateral (Frontal plane)
- Rotational (Transverse plane)
2) Movement Categorization: What movement restrictions have you placed on the athlete? Are they:
- Dropping (Anything dropping off a box)
- Jumping (Double leg)
- Bounding (Jump from one leg and land on the other)
- Hopping (Jump from one leg and land on the same leg)
3) Descriptors: What action is taking place to produce the force?
- Non-counter movement (Concentric focus)
- Countermovement (Using eccentric utilisation, fast down then up)
- Stick (Jump and stick landing)
- Double contact (Contact one to absorb, the second contact to produce force)
- Continues (Non-stop)
- Depth jump (Drop from various height and jumps either fast or slow once landed)
4) Modalities: What constraints are you placing on the movement?
- Mini hurdle
- Big Hurdle
The last part is the intensity continuum that addresses the progression of each exercise based on players ability and training need.
Vector continuum (Load or skill progression):
- Horizontal (Harder landing due to horizontal component)
- Lateral (Lower load but more coordination required)
- Rotational (most coordination required)
- Double Contact
- Depth Jumps
Below and above are some chart I have used with various jumps to progression based on the plyometric funnel and intensity continuum.