Now, we need to talk about our warm-ups. Warm-ups are arguably the most important part of our class work. Yes, warm muscles = more elastic muscles – we all know (or should know) that by now – but the warm-up goes a bit beyond that. It involves muscles, tendons, ligaments, respiration, blood flow, and, probably most important, your central nervous system (CNS). Without warming-up – without waking-up your CNS – you’re going to lack focus, which will lead to lack of form, which will lead to either wasted effort due to a lack of power (i.e., you won’t get stronger or fitter) or, at worst, injury. Yes, sometimes the warm-ups are hard, and sometimes they’re long, but they’re calculated to perform a task specifically geared towards the workout of the day. The start to Thursday’s class was a good example.
After raising everyone’s temperature with a few standard movements (read “squats”!), class then made sure that their collective CNS was awake and firing by performing 5 rounds of 2 seated box jumps.
Remember, explosive movements, such as plyometrics and both Olympic lifts, have serious carryover to your ability to recruit motor units/muscle fibers and improve their explosive power, thus improving your ability to express power quickly (known as the ‘rate of force development’ or RFD). As your RFD improves, your ability to recruit motor units/muscles fibers becomes more neurologically efficient. So, yes, we can practice plyometrics (such as seated box jumps & depth jumps) or Olympic lifting (cleans, jerks, and snatches) to help build our RFD capacity; however, we can also use one to help prepare for the other, thus maximizing our motor recruitment ability. Witness the second part of Thursday night’s class:
In groups of 2 to 3 people, complete 8 rounds of 1 power clean, 1 hang squat clean, & 1 push jerk.
Increase weight until you begin to press out the jerk, then dial back 5-10lbs and complete the remaining sets.
For the pull-ups, scale up to chest-2-bar, scale down to band assisted.
Congrats Dian!!! That’s awesome! Lots more to come, I’m sure.
Great explanation Chris! The point about the first two segments of last nights workout working to compliment each other is huge.T
On a side note, technically, the seated box jump is not plyometric, as we have eliminated the stretch shortening cycle (ie, the down before the up). All the more important to focus and make each rep explosive.
Congrats on your 1yr anniversary and nailing that first pull-up Dian! 😀
True enough, although, if we’re using the rocking-technique, doesn’t that reintroduce a semblance of stretch-shortening back into the movement (as opposed to a pure seated box jump)?
Chris, are you jumping OVER the box in that photo?
Could someone explain the stretch-shortening cycle a little more? Is that related to eccentric & concentric contractions? I know I can Google it but I have a feeling the explanations will go right over my head.
Jumping over the box? Show-off…hmph.
yes, I admit it, I was showing off; figured I’d get a few giggles in since you weren’t in class Julia.
Maiko, indeed you are correct: SSC (Stretch Shortening Cycle) is the process of combining a controlled eccentric motion (active stretching of the muscle) followed by an immediate, and often rapid, concentric motion (contraction of the muscle). To Tom’s point – with the seated box jump, since you begin seated, there’s no active stretching before you attempt to contract your muscles before the jump (although, my argument is that when you use a rocking motion – rocking back and bringing your feet off the ground before rocking forward and forcefully planting your feet before jumping – there’ll be a slight bit of eccentric stretching. Just to nitpick of course)