What are plyometrics? Plyometrics are exercises that are designed to train your body in fast, explosive movement. These exercises are based around having muscles exert maximum force in as short a time as possible, with the goal of increasing both speed and power. They are also sometimes called proprioceptive neuro-muscular facilitation (PNF), since it’s designed to make the nervous system more efficient. Plyometrics work by increasing the body’s neuro-muscular efficiency. The electrical signals that tell your muscles to contract become more coordinated. They engage the stretch reflex (technically called the myostatic-reflex). If a muscle is rapidly stretched (lengthened) before contracting, it will make an even stronger concentric contraction to protect itself. Plyometrics are done quickly, so you store kinetic energy in your muscles at the bottom of a movement and release it in the explosive part of the movement, like a rubber band getting stretched back before you shoot it at someone. The rubber band flying through the air is your explosive movement.
At WST we incorporate plyos into our program by performing plyometric jumps before a lifting routine, or in combination with a heavy lift. Why before? Because athletes are able to perform skilled plyometric exercises when they are fresh, and it does not limit strength by causing excessive fatigue. When in conjunction with heavy lifting like a dead lift, you want to work up to a heavy 5 rep or 3 rep, and superset the lift with a jump (plyometric exercise) that is in the same plane of the lift. You want to be able to perform the lift for 3-4 sets. Jumping in the same plane enforces power in the same direction. The same goes for upper body lifting if you are going to do a bench press you can superset plyo pushups at the designated height. Some examples of plyometric exercises WST commonly uses are broad jumps, box jumps, depth jumps, hurdle hops, plyo pushups, and horizontal switch chins.
By: WST Trainer Vicky Ziolkowsi
Williams Sport Training’s philosophy is based on the principle of training the Central Nervous System (CNS) to fire at a faster rate. This increase in firing recruits more muscle fibers, making our athletes more explosive with every movement on the field. We accomplish this by placing heavier loads on the body and using bi-lateral lifts such as deadlifts and bench press (we use bench press because it is the easiest way to place the heaviest load on our athletes for upper body). Our trainers emphasize proper technique before progressing to max effort core lifts. In other words, our athletes need to do it right before they do it heavy. This type of training not only makes our athlete’s nervous system recruit massive amounts of motor units (strength) but provides the incentive to work hard. The ultimate payoff being a more powerful athlete. By alternating our core lifts every two weeks, our athletes can continually break their own records in different exercises and ultimately boost self confidence on and off the field. In addition, this consistent change prevents burn out of the athlete’s nervous system of our athletes. This system makes our athletes more and more explosive every session they do with us. The WST system works!
Experts in the field, such as Tudor Bompa, state how heavy lifting enhances the CNS it in their writings.
Here is an expert, Tudor Bomba’s opinion on our training philosophy:
In terms of weight training to improve explosive power, Bompa’s philosophy is that repetitions are the key training variable in the fight against CNS fatigue. He advocates low numbers of reps, but with very heavy loadings in excess of 90% of 1RM (one rep max) in order to develop strength that will boost speed and power and optimize the contribution of the CNS. Recovery times between sets of 1-3 repetitions could be as much as six minutes!
Crucially, these loadings create a higher level of excitation and receptor/effector flow, more motor unit recruitment and greater neural stimulation. These loadings and recoveries are also recommended on the basis of their contribution to maximum power and strength expression, and also because they do not produce a large increase in muscle mass, which could be detrimental to an athlete’s power to weight ratio.
Sited in: Periodization Training for Sports, Bompa T et al; Human Kinetics, 2nd edition 2005
Article written by: Mark Williams
During a soccer match players in different positions encounter the ball for different amounts of time and in different areas based on the position of the individual player. The Speed Skill program at Williams Sport Training emphasizes the proper training method for touches on the ball for every player no matter what position they play for their club. During a 90-minute match players are running without the ball more than they are with it. It is important to find a program where your player can be put through exercises where they are taking at least double the amount of touches they are taking in a game.
Professional players see the ball anywhere from 40 – 50 times a game. Most of these players take on average two touches during every individual possession. Now you have to consider the scenario at our youth level. Players at the youth level play shorter games with less time on the field in order to give more players a chance to play. With this being the case you now have to cut the possession per player in half. This simple fact solidifies the importance of our Speed Skill program.
Youth players developing their identities must put themselves through intense technical training sessions. At Williams Sport Training our drills put players through quick movements forcing them to take quick and efficient touches. WST Speed Skill drills stress the importance of proper body mechanics while approaching the ball at pace. Our staff analyzes what each player does with his or her body prior to receiving the ball in order to correct poor touches while on it. Once the ball is released, we then look for the player’s haste to get into a better position to receive the next ball. We at WST believe it is just as important to emphasize what our players do off the ball, just as much as what our players do on the ball.
The WST Speed Skill program will improve every player’s two-touch game. Professional players do not hold on to the ball for lengthy periods of time. Rarely are these players dribbling more than they are passing or shooting. Players either receive or win the ball off an opposing player and quickly move it on. Our sessions will teach players how to excel in these types of possessions. We will enhance every player’s ability to move the ball quickly after receiving it.
By: Kevin Olson