Strength training is an essential part of any training routine to maximize speed, agility, explosiveness, and power. However, to get the most out of your strength training, it is essential to consider different techniques that you can do. For example, slow eccentric motion doing squats trains your muscles to absorb force rather than dissipate it. This force absorption is essential to perform plyometric exercises, like sprinting, jumping, change of direction, etc.
People train the wrong way.
The standard resistance training routine of sets and reps is not the same or best way for developing strength because it dissipates force more than muscles can absorb. As a result, resistance training is subpar for an athlete. However, many athletes disregard eccentric and isometric training, focusing on concentric motion only. This idea will help you become stronger, but it won’t maximize your strength gains nearly as much as focusing on the other two motions mentioned.
By combining the proper strength blocks and routines, you can increase your rate of force. Increasing the rate of force will boost your strength potential. And that elevated potential can morph strength into speed and explosiveness to maximize your performance.
First Phase- Slow Eccentric Training- 2 Weeks
The eccentric phase is when you’re lowering the weight. With slow eccentric motions, it’s important to control the speed of the descent using time under tension (TUT). TUT increases the seconds your muscle stays under tension to absorb the force.
For example, using about 5-8 seconds to lower the weight slowly eccentrically. Many important processes occur when you slow down the movement. But if you do it fast, you will not maximize the same result.
How Slow Eccentric Training Work
Slow eccentric training is an essential part of any strength program. You must take the time to synchronize your proprioceptors properly. For example, GTOs inhibit by unplugging the force. When the force becomes too high, GTOs relax the muscle so you can’t lift the weight or explode from the movement. It is a safety mechanism.
On the other hand, muscle spindles contract and stiffen to regulate force when the muscle is lengthening to keep the muscle tension at an effective and optimal level. It is called the stretch reflex. So, when you do slow eccentric motions, muscle spindles control and regulate force by coordinating and synchronizing with GTOs to absorb force in the muscle. This process is impossible when exercises are done too quickly with untrained muscles or with resistance training.
Since eccentric motion is the yielding force for concentric motion, if an athlete isn’t used to handling high levels of eccentric force, the concentric motion will be weak. Therefore, untrained GTOs will limit an athlete’s potential to absorb high levels of force. However, with proper training, athletes can adapt their GTOs by activating the muscle spindles to increase their capacity for force absorption without the risk of injury.
In addition, working together allows the athlete to absorb higher levels of force without triggering the GTOs’ inhibition process.
Additionally, it’s essential to ensure you’re not over-stretching a muscle with too much weight because GTOs will override the muscle spindle. If it is greater than perceived, it won’t work.
Second Phase- Isometric Training- 2 Weeks
Think of it like this; the ground is the isometric phase. So, bouncing a basketball on the concrete will bounce back up because the isometric phase is strong enough to transfer the energy concentrically. However, if you try to bounce a basketball in the sand, it won’t bounce because it is not strong enough to transfer the eccentric energy concentrically. And so, based on this visual, the isometric phase must be strong enough to transfer the force from the eccentric into the concentric phase.
The pause is a critical aspect to implement into your isometric motion. The pause increases the time under tension to help convert the isometric platform from sand to concrete.
Third Phase- Concentric Training- Putting All Together- 2 Weeks
Your concentric phase is only as strong as your eccentric and isometric motions. As I said, the eccentric phase is a loading phase; the isometric is a transfer phase, and those two phases, if not strong and effective, will slow down concentric movement. So, the idea is to have a fluent loading motion transfer without impedance. Think of it like a trampoline; the more force you eccentrically put into the surface, the higher it will propel you concentrically into the air.
The Routine for Eccentric Training
Follow the exercise setup and routine below. For two weeks, do slow eccentric training.
For the first two sets, do 2-3 reps of about 90-95% of your 1RM of slow eccentric motion for about 6-8 seconds. Then, pause for a second isometrically. Then, go up as fast as you want concentrically—no need to do it slowly.
For the following two sets, lower the weight and do 5-6 reps, about 80-85% 1 RM.
The Routine Isometric Training
Now, you will switch the focus to the isometric phase. For two weeks, you will add a pause to the isometric motion.
For the first two sets for 2-3 reps, about 90-95% 1RM, eccentrically lower with control, no need to be slow, but do it with control. Hold the isometric pause for 6 seconds. Then, go up as fast as you want concentrically—no need to do it slowly. Focus on exploding from the pause.
Lower the weight for the following two sets and do 5-6 reps, about 80-85% 1 RM. Hold the pause for 6 seconds. Focus on exploding from the pause.
The Routine for Concentric Training
Perform reps under control. But now, focus on exploding concentrically.
For the first two sets, do five reps, about 80-85% 1RM. Then, come up as fast as you can, concentrically.
Lower the weight for the following two sets and do eight reps at about 70-80% 1 RM. Then, again, come up as fast as you can, concentrically.
Exercises for Eccentric, Isometric, and Concentric Training. Use the same exercises for six weeks.
Single Leg Deadlift
Wednesday – OFF
Single Leg Squats
Nordic Hip Bridge
Fourth phase- Complex Training- Reactive Training
So now that you have increased your force rate potential, your muscles and tendons know how to absorb force rather than dissipate it. As a result, they can be more reactive. If you were just to start these training routines without prior weeks of training, you would not be as successful or fast.
In the first exercise, perform 85-90% 1 RM for 3-5 reps. Then for the second exercise, perform explosively and polymetrically for 8-10 reps.
Squats/ Vertical Jump
Seated Rows/ Alternating Dumbbell Bent Over Rows
Nordic Hip Bridge/ Kettlebell Swings
Resistance Band Pushups/ Plyometric Pushups
Alternate Lunges/ Split Lunges
Pullups/ Med Ball Slams
Push Press/ Med Ball Throws
Check out my channel, The Balanced Body, on YouTube to see how to apply these training methods.
If you want to know more about how to get your muscles to absorb force to be instantly stronger and more explosive, then check out the book INSTANT STRENGTH.