WBV Power Program

A few weeks ago, this Youtube came out highlighting my friend and colleague, Mike Curtis, Head Basketball Strength & Conditoning Coach @ University of Virginia.  I met Mike in 2005 when I have a brief story.  We were in his brand new weightroom in Memphis (playing the Grizzlies) for about 5-6 minutes before he came in, and one of my players, Michael Bradley, said to me, “You like this weight room, don’t you?”  Indeed I did.
To see an NBA weight room with 2 platforms, no knee extension or leg press, plenty of hurdles, MBs and DBs, a Woodway Force, and a legit concrete throwing wall is a rarity.  Whoever this dude was, he knew what he was doing.

Back to the video, when I saw it, Mike was instructing his guys in a WBV protocol that I sent him that I’ve coupled with a high load power lift such as an O-Lift or Giant Box Jump.  The progam and rationale are below, but I am also excited to share this promo video from UVA as the message is exemplary and simply not what enough of us are thinking.

Lastly, you can try this program on a Powerplate, but I doubt it will work since the platform accomodates in the vertical plane the moment you land.  What I mean is that the floor will drop beneath you at the point of landing and negate the whole neuromuscular event of landing.
And even if it does work, you’ll be causing a concussion, so please don’t try it, but I’m sure many of you will.  Good luck.


I would like to you set the Vibraflex to 26Hz. It can be 28Hz also if you like. It will equate to potentially 1-2 more jumps.

This protocol may be enhanced or at least more efficient if you have the Vibraflex up on an elevated surface. For taller guys, elevated it 8-12″ is what I’m talking about.

This protocol is along the lines of complex training. Instead of the maximal strength component followed by strength-speed and below, we are accessing WBV followed by strength-speed. The options I would consider are loaded jump squats, loaded box jumps, or OL.

Do a box jump to the platform with it on. If it meets technical proficiency, continue for 8 jumps with a 1-2s hold. If I was researching, I would hold for 2s for reliability. Why 8 jumps? Because I am making this up. I am also manipulating the Prilepin chart as Louie did to come up with the reps for squat, bench, DL based on the time to complete an OL as the Eastern Europeans did.
Rarely will the athlete bury that 1st box jump. Should they not be successful, drop the frequency by 2 Hz. Continue dropping this to 18 Hz if they continue to be unsuccessful. If they can not bury it @ 18 Hz, their neuromuscular control in the 1-leg landing is not commensurate with this program in my opinion.  (Even though this is jumping – 2 legs to 2 legs, you are always “leaping” right to left on the teeter totter platform, so you are actually on 1-leg at the instant of landing.)
As soon as they are successful, ramp back up 2 Hz for each jump.
26 – fail
24 – fail
22- fail
20 – success
22 – sucesss
24 – success
26 – success
Then immediately go into your speed-strength or strength speed lift.

That is the protocol, and the keyhole into PAP is this. Most people think of PAP in terms of part to whole (bring up 1 segment like glutes to enhance the posterior chain) or more appropriately recognize the complex of heavy followed fast elicits motor unit recruitment. I agree that it does, but the big squat followed by OL are accessing the same level of motor response, the M3 response. The M3 response is volitional control that takes up to 120ms to for muscle twitch/action.
WBV accesses the motor response @ the M1 level, which is 30-50ms. My train of thought is if I can enter into an M3 event, which is pretty much every non-RNT training event, I can show up with more juice. If I am asking for a mild ballistic technique that challenges neuromuscular integrity in the first place via an M1 muscle contraction, my assumption/theory is that a similar double-leg technique will be a summated effort of M1 and M3 levels. I’m sure someone much smarter than me can break this down into spinal pathways or tracts in the spinal cord, etc.

It may be even be interesting to complex WBV followed by a heavy double followed by the OL program.

Lots of mumbo jumbo, but the interest level I have in WBV and the explanation for the sometimes amazing things in corrections and performance are based on the keyhole into M1 which is only accessisble by unexpected nocicpeption or deep tendon reflex training, which is vibratory in nature.
Lots of assumptions, but as clinicians, I don’t think we need hard science. Soft science and safety should give us a reason to try, and the results should provide trends, soft science.

I think Tim Vagen’s ludicrous results are in part to an untrained population, but they are still untouchable.
I think in trained athletes, the RPE and/or Tendo of a strength-speed episode is the trending measuring stick. I expect the athlete to step down off the box or drop the bumpers with a WTF reaction.  The lift should be surprisingly easy or smooth.

  • November 13, 2010

Leave a Reply 3 comments

Carson Boddicker Reply


Excellent as always. I’m looking to get in some reading on WBV when I’m done with this stack. Any suggested resources?

Carson Boddicker

Charlie Reply

I will send you some things to start with.

Tim Reply

Yes..I would agree that my results of rediculous, or be it ludicrous, were in part that swimmers are rarely tested in vertical jump and power programs. The incredible (my word) results of the WBV and power training program on the swimmer group that I had have still yet to be matched by any other group on that protocol. Perhaps that invalidates the results since they were not repeatable.

I think it was just good training 🙂

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