Accelerated/Assisted Plyometric Programming Considerations

Approximately nine years ago, I was fortunate to come across a motion analysis system that our mechanical engineering department possessed. This device contained nine cameras placed systematically such that it could detect a multitude of human movements and joint angles to find out what was really going on in sport. While utilizing this system, I analyzed a number of athletes in the weight room and on the field with this elite camera system. To be clear, I couldn't set these cameras up myself. Our strength and conditioning staff had to have biomedical engineering students assemble the entire system in order to run these tests and analyze various movements.

One day while analyzing the data, I began to realize that during the second and third step in running and skating, I couldn't mimic the speed qualities that took place during those steps in the weight room by using conventional plyometric exercises. At that point it dawned on me to unload the human body while it did those jumping movements to mimic the speed at which the second, third, fourth, and fifth step in skating and running took place. Keep in mind, I usually use double leg plyometrics with this particular accelerated method because of the speed involved in the extension of the hips and knees. I realize that many strength coaches think single leg plyometrics are more sport-specific because sports are played mainly on one leg. This is an opinion I can’t disagree with. However, what I will disagree with is that a single leg plyometric, as shown by this motion analysis machine, is so much slower in producing forces that it doesn't mimic what is taking place in sports. In real life, single leg plyometrics are beneficial in teaching the human body to be more explosive for the same reason that double leg plyometrics teach a constant load (body weight) to accelerate faster. With double leg plyometrics, it must be noted that because the weight per limb is distributed, there is a higher potential for developing speed because of the shorter amortization phase, and thus, a more explosive rebound.

Most coaches are incorrect in their programming because they place single leg plyometrics after double leg plyometrics. They believe this to be the logical training progression because the single leg requires more strength. Within a block scheme, the programming of plyometric jumps should look like this:

1. Single leg plyometrics

2. Double leg plyometrics

3. Single leg accelerated plyometrics

4. Double leg accelerated plyometrics

Right there you have four blocks of training utilizing the natural progression of least sport `specific to most sport-specific for peaking an athlete. Single leg plyometrics should be viewed more as a strength plyometric whereas double leg plyometrics develop speed. In closing, when using the accelerated plyometrics, one must keep in mind that to get the speed and explosive qualities to transfer to the sporting field, you must provide movements that mimic speed and joint angles of what is taking place in the sport you’re training.

Below are two various sample of considerations for just Accelerated band jumps

Accelerated Jump Series

Accelerated Band Jump

Accelerated Band Jump pause

Accelerated Band Jump Reactive 

Split Band Jump

Split Band Jump w/ pause

Split Band Jump Reactive

Block 1 – 2 to 3 Weeks

Block 2 – 2 to 3 Weeks

Block 3– 2 to 3 Weeks

Block 1

Accelerated Band Split Lunge Pause Jump

Block 2

Accelerated Band Split Lunge Jump

Block 3

Accelerated Band Split Lunge Jump Reactive

Block 4

Accelerated Band Squat Jump Pause

Block 5

Accelerated Band Squat Jump

Block 6

Accelerated Band Squat Jump Reactive

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