Thursday, 13 June 2013

Power Development for Combat Sports Part 3

Last week we have looked at Explosive Strength Training.

Today, I will go over another method used for power development.


Ballistic resistance training involves releasing the external load into the air without decelerating.  The force outweighs the resistance and the movement is of a high velocity.

Examples of ballistic exercises are - jump squat, med ball throws, KB throws, KB swings etc. The goal is that the athlete reaches peak acceleration at the moment of release projecting the object or the body as far / as high as possible.

There are no definitive guidelines for the resistance used with ballistics. 30% of 1RM is often recommended for the exercises that use free weights i.e squat jumps, however as mentioned in the previous article, percentages may vary for individuals, and also for exercises. Allow +/- 5% and review the % in different stages of the training.

In terms of the guidelines for med balls or KB, the weight of these objects themselves dictate the load. Med Balls 2 - 10kg, KB's 8- 32kg or higher (again, the load varies for different exercises, you will use a lighter load for single arm KB throw then for KB swing etc).

The guidelines for ballistics training :

Load (med balls, KB's, power bags) - variable
Load (for free weight exercises) - 30-35%
Number of exercises  2-3
Number of reps per set (med balls, KB's, power bags, etc) 10-20 (or 6-10)
Number of reps per set (free weight exercises) 1 - 5
Number of sets per session 3 - 5
Rest 2-3 mins
Speed of execution EXPLOSIVE
Frequency 2-3 x per week

The reason that the number of reps per set is quite high when using med balls etc, is that it takes some time to retrieve the ball or KB. However if you use a wall or partner to bounce the ball back the number of reps is lower, as you have no rest time between reps. Generally as soon as the speed and the quality of the movement cannot be maintained anymore, the exercise should be stopped. The guidelines are there, but it is up to the coach to determine the most accurate load and reps.

Note that ballistics place a considerable eccentric forces on joints, ligaments and tendons. This type of training is awesome to improve the strength and health of connective tissue, however athletes should always progress gradually from unloaded to loaded exercises and if your goal is to develop POWER your athletes MUST NOT be fatigued before starting a ballistic power training session. There can be certain exceptions from this rule when developing POWER ENDURANCE, but I will discuss this in a separate post.

Always watch the speed and form the movement is performed with, QUALITY outweighs QUANTITY.

Have a good week


PS. HERE is an interesting article on squat jumps (light vs heavy load) for all of you who want to explore the ballistics a bit further

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