Loading the Core? Loading Plyometrics? A Load of………?

Are you using external loads at the appropriate time for pylo and core work with your clients/athletes?


For core work, yes, I think progressing with load can be ideal.  Using the loaded bar or against bands in the rollout, weight vests, chains, or plates to do pushups or inverted rows are all options.
But load isn’t the only way to challenge something to adapt, so bands, a rollout with something like giant ball bearings with more degrees of freedom, or changing the base of support are also going to demand adaptation as folks advance.
So I don’t think loading up certain core movements is missing the big picture.  If the individual is being challenged, and the movement has integrity, then there are far more rights than wrongs.

Form ain't half bad right there. Well done, man wearing black on black.

For plyometrics, this is a very tough question because it makes some sense, and when you don’t have a bigger box, box jumps with dumbells really allows for progression.  There are a lot of interesting thoughts here.
First off, when you look back to most of the plyometric literature, big time information does not involve jumping with an external load.
I’m not that concerned about an injury risk because there’s always an assumption that the takeoffs and landings look the part.  So the load is just relative.  My opinion just based on intuition is that I’d rather jump higher and/or farther than not as high with load.  Then again, I’d rather have jumping far, jumping high, AND WITH load like some of the stories we hear from Westside like nailing 50″ box jumps from 5 feet away carrying 70# DBS.

Something else to consider is that I think plyos are supposed to be fast.  I am comfortable with the execution and coaching of plyometrics, but I am not versed in the latest science.  What I do think is accurate though is that speed is of the essence, and at the very least, we need slow and heavy to translate to faster and heavy and even faster unloaded for the carryover of doing plyos in the first place.

The next though that comes along is the idea of overspeed eccentrics.  If the load on the eccentric is lost during the amoritization phase, then there might be some money in getting back up.
This is obviously a more advanced plyometric method, but I think it lends to your question(s) about loading.
As usual, it’s all in the details.

Box Jumps @ around 4:00, not the form I would advocate, but still fun to watch.
[youtube_sc url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPJCfzG4tlQ”]


Do we lose speed on a clean or snatch if we increase external load?
Also don’t we want to work power?
Have you tried a Dynamax box jump with athletes and clients?

Ah, I think the Olympic Lifts are different in terms of how do you achieve peak power.  They are not exactly the same as plyometrics as I see it.
They occupy a different phase of the Force-Velocity curve, and if power generation is greatly different in one phase vs. another, you have reason to perhaps manipulate load to adapt that phase to be more powerful.
While I believe the research yields a wide range in what the optimal %age is for peak power, I do think when you exceed 80%, power will diminish, and it is because the lift is inherently slower.  To the naked eye, the Olympic Lift may look the same, but I think folks closer to the O-Lifts than I would agree in terms of power production.

Like I alluded to before, a Dynamax Box Jump is fine in a fitness population.  I do not think it is the best bang for your buck in a legitimate athletic training environment.
Mechanically, this may be or probably is safe.  But is it best practice?

There is always good, better, and best.  In a personal training environment, those definitions are different than in a rehab or strength & conditioning environment.

These answers all live in the literature, and what coaches see in carryover.  Right now in my practice, I will have athletes jump with dumbells.  But honestly, it is because one of the facilities I train out of doesn’t have a higher box.  It’s not because I think adding load is the best answer.
But as long as he lands properly, which again is the obvious umbrella here, I don’t think it’s a big deal for advanced athletes on a long cycle, or the personal training client in need of some variety and fun.

Get up on the box, Son.
[youtube_sc url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=un7scTjMhlc”]


Is there any possible damage to the lumbar discs from loading movements like these?

There is going to be more spinal compression without a doubt, but you can get more spinal compression jumping over bigger hurdles or down off a bigger box.
The compression isn’t the issue itself; compression is a natural load that the spine needs to continue to adapt and improve.  However, the load must be one that can be buttressed AND is within a range that yields adaptation.
Again, we should be very keen to choose the best loads and movements with the least amount of potential damage.  That statement is a dead horse; I know.  But risk-reward all lies in the eye of the beholder.

Trying to sum things up, one of the essence definitions of the core can be the ability to maintain the spine, pelvis, scaps, and neck in the presence of hip or t-spine motion (or arm and leg motion).

If the arm or leg motions are challenged by speed, load, or skill, the core will be challenged.
I think moving the arms and legs out of the plank is going to get you a lot more mileage than “loading the core” in a plank.  Get out of the plank quickly into push-ups, rollouts, and the like.

Jumping with a weight vest or DBs in the hands is a different story.
Dynamic stability in this case is challenged well by system load.
I have little concern for compression issues if load and form are right. But then it gets into what floats your boat. Yeah, there is more risk here but also, in my opinion, more reward, and in more cases than not, more fun. It’s very cool to jump 40″ with 25s in each hand AND stick the landing.


Just do this, including the packed neck that Coach shows when he takes off

  • March 31, 2012

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