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POTENTIATION I DECIDE TO DO MY OWN RESEARCH! CAN I IMPROVE A JUMPER’S VERTICAL VELOCITY IN ONE SESSION?
In this week’s Friday video on my YouTube channel (Fri 1 2022) we take a look at what is known as potentiation. Potentiation involves the specific combination of drills, activities and conditioning methods in a way which is deigned to boost the power output of muscles.
Put simply the combination of dynamic activities is seen to increase neural excitement and enable the body to recruit more amounts of fast twitch muscle fibre and the motor units which recruit them.
Fast twitch fibre is “difficult” to fully recruit under “normal” circumstances, it needs large amounts of neural energy to provide the stimulation.
Potentiating training is seen as a way to provide this stimulation.
There are various protocols and ideas as to how to potentiate training. You can combine related weights exercises with related plyometric/jump exercises - for example, heavy load jump squats and drop jumps. Another option could be weighted sled pulls and/or lighter sled and unresisted runs.
It’s also possible to potentiate competitive and technical jump training. You could, for example, include rebound jumps or jump squats between jumps and there is research on this.
There is a considerable amount of research that indicates that potentiating training works and works well at that.
There are, however, some caveats - for example, some research indicates that those jumpers and sprinters with a higher level of strength will respond more to potentiation.
In the video I focus on potentiating sprinting and jumping directly.
The jump enhancing research I eluded to above - which involved national level decathletes - showed that when long jumping vertical velocity was improved after plyometric activity. Improvements of over 20cm were attributed to the potentiating activity.
The research included a control group who jumped without performing the potentiating plyometrics and they did not improve their vertical take-off velocity and resultant distance in the same way.
THIS GOT ME THINKING “I’LL DO MY OWN EXPERIMENTING”
I decided to start my own research. I want to see how I can potentiate jump training. This would obviously seem to be the most important potentiating transference for me as a jumps coach and I’d assume for many of you reading this. (Note: I do include lots of other potentiating activity in my day to day training - more on this in another post/video). However, I have never - until this point - actually directly tried to potentiate actual jumping.
So, we started with u20 Ruby (best of 6.09m).
I decided to start with Ruby as despite her 6m jump she’s not able to generate as much vertical velocity as I might have thought she could. I have identified this from eccentric overload take-off work in the past. We have been working on developing this quality over the last training phase.
Protocol: Loaded jump squats (concentric emphasis) 3x3 @ 16kg circa 20% of her bodyweight
Eccentric emphasis take-offs from 10 steps with a 3cm mat placed on the pen step (You’ll have probably seen these take-off developing jumps in my videos - I am a very firm believe in them),
Rationale: I wanted to see whether the jump squats would lead to the potentiation of the eccentric long jump take-offs and specifically an increase in height from the take-off
I chose concentric jump squats as a large amount of neural energy is needed to lift up from the weight and due to the jumps being paused between each rep, the landing has an eccentric (blocking) emphasis.
Ruby did one jump before implementing the potentially potentiating jump squats. She then did a take-off (mat on penultimate step. 10 step approach as noted) 90sec later.
There was slightly more vertical lift at take-off compared to the first jump (this could of course have been a response to the first jump … it’s always going to take some time to get into a session).
Then 90sec later 3 more jump squats were taken and then 90sec later a further jump (take-off) was made. This time I could see more power on the run-up and also at take-off via more height. Obviously I’m going on my coach’s eye here and no high-tech kit was used. However, Ruby corroborated what I saw with how she “felt” when jumping.
Ruby then did a further jump without the jump squats and this one was not do good - note there are so many reasons why a jump may not be as good as the previous or subsequent one … less proficient take-off, less proficient approach and so on.
We did a further 3 jumps squats and another couple of jumps - keeping so similar rest intervals. Interestingly Ruby’s performance of the jump squats was better (consider that potentiation works in both directions) and that on one of the jumps the take-off was really good.
It would seem that the potentiating loaded jump squats may have assisted with gaining height and therefore increased vertical velocity at take-off. This was evident on 2-3 take-offs from the 6 in particular.
I will continue to experiment with Ruby and some of the senior jumpers. I will stick with loaded jump squats initially but in time may also try rebound/drop jumps. It’ll be interesting to see what happens and whether certain jumpers respond more than others.
Potentiation should occur and even if it didn’t the training design will specifically help with developing jump power. With my knowledge of jump training and potentiation it would appear very unlikely that no potentiating benefits would not occur.
Look our for more updates and finding and head over to the YouTube channel for more too.