Often, when discussing training exercises that give us the most bang for the buck in vertical power training, the list doesn’t get too far beyond the Olympic lifts (clean/jerk and snatch). And there is no disputing the fact that these two or three lifts deliver results, but the problem with these lifts is centered around their complexity and the time it takes to teach, progress, perfect and implement these lifts into programs with young athletes.
Now don’t get me wrong, we use these lifts in our facilities and have for 15 years, but time has taught us several lessons why, when and how we integrate these lifts into the program.
- We are not training Olympic lifters (we are training team sport athletes)
- We have a limited amount of time to spend in each area (speed, strength, fitness)
- Our players may not be with us for the length of time (months/years) it will take to load up these lifts to the point that we are seeing real benefit.
So we have come up with athletic progressions of these lifts that have delivered awesome results in vertical jump, acceleration and total body strength/power. Lifts like our Squat Raise to Armpit, Power Raise (pictured above on the right), Jump Squats and Squat to Press have become the prerequisites to the Olympic lifts in our program, and they have proven to deliver results in less time, with less technical instruction.
Research is now starting to show that swing exercises like the kettle bell swing (1) and power raise are just as effective as weighted jump squats for improving vertical jump. The simplicity of these exercises are what makes the difference. We start with simple jump-landing technique, add speed, add rhythm and then add light loads. Once the player has developed a confidence and rhythm with the jump motion, we begin to add weight to the motion (training the movement) with exercises like the Power Raise, Trap Bar Jump Squats and Squat Raise to Armpit (shown at right).
These simple exercises build the strength, train the movement and result in improved power before the players learn the Olympic lifts. These lifts, along with several others, have become part of a simple progression to improving vertical based power in team sport, developmental age athletes. To learn more about our System, click HERE. Or to view our eBooks on training team sport athletes, click HERE.
- Lake, J, and M Lauder. “Kettlebell swing training improves maximal and explosive strength.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 26.8 (2012): 2228-2233. Print.