Assisted Jump Training – Part One

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Those who follow my training log will know that I started Assisted Jump Training today. As this training method is not commonly used, I wanted to share my video from today and begin to discuss the training method in more detail.

Assisted Jump training is taken from the concept of over-speed training for improving sprinting speed. Here, the athlete will sprint at maximal velocity down a slope of 3-7 degrees or will be pulled along while attached to harness and elastic tubing. It has been proposed that timing mechanisms within the central nervous system can be adapted with the use of this training. The result produces faster firing rates within the muscle and decreased inhibition of the CNS which allows for greater stride frequency and/or greater take off velocity. As the goal of any jump training program is to produce great power quickly, this training method provides exciting possibilities.

Assisted Jump training enables the athlete to perform high intensity jumping exercises while at a reduced body weight. Under these conditions the athlete can produce greater take off velocities than what would normally be possible. It goes without saying that being able to minimize the time it takes to generate power and speed is of major importance to elite performance in speed and power sports. The theory behind Assisted Jump training relates closely to the concept that the faster a person can produce great force, the higher and faster a person should be able to jump and run. To achieve this, athletes need to be able to train at high velocities of a regular basis.

Assisted Jump training works by having the athlete perform plyometric exercises while attached to an overhead pulley system. The basic equipment needed is a harness and elastic tubing attached overhead which pulls the athlete upwards thus reducing their body weight. The device includes a pulley mechanism which the tubing is fed through. This enables complete control of the resistance on the tubing which controls the athlete weight. It is important that the device is placed in a high ceiling gymnasium or fitness centre as the athletes may jump much higher than they would under normal conditions.

We know that heavy resistance training develops muscular strength and rate of force development. This, in turn improves the potential for power production. We also know that plyometric training increases muscular power and the efficiency of the stretch-shortening cycle. Research on Assisted Jump training suggests improvements in performance are seen as a result of increased of take off velocity.

From these findings and with future research in mind, one could make an accurate assumption that optimal training for power development would incorporate all three of these methods. The recommended volumes and intensities of resistance training and plyometrics have long been established throughout literature. Guidelines for Assisted Jump training however are still primitive at best. Assisted Jump training can be categorized as high intensity in regards to movement velocity and yet low intensity in regards to force of impact. With this being said, one would suggest that athletic populations could handle this training in considerably higher doses than was seen during the few relevant studies performed. However, with performance improvements seen during those studies it is also clear that high doses of Assisted Jump training may not be necessary, at least during early exposure to the method.

During part two I will discuss possible ways of implementing this type of training into a yearly plan and take a more detailed look into relevant research of the topic.

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