Advanced Shock Training Principles: How To Get Hops Like A Pro

Yuri Verkhoshansky first coined the term “Shock Training” back in the 1960’s. His work played a defining role in defining the basic principles of the advanced plyometric exercise periodization principles used by today's premier athletes.

Box jumps are used in every one of the top vertical jump programs we have reviewed. Some trainers believe that the box jump offers very little transfer over to basketball specific performance while others swear it is the secret to their vertical jump success.
Have you ever noticed how effortlessly a pro baller seems to make a dunk look on a fast break. These guys have perfected the art of dunking. In order to dunk a basketball you must be able to activate the correct muscles at the right time with the right force. If you have read our ultimate guide to jumping higher and our how to dunk posts you would have noticed that jumping higher is both an art and science. The following dunking tips will help you add a few inches to current dunk jump height. Combine these dunk tips with one of the many proven and effective vertical jump programs and you too can rise up like the pros.

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​The Evolution Of Shock Training

Many vertical jump trainers and researchers have borrowed and manipulated components of Yuri Verkhoshansky’s early work.

Perhaps, the greatest example of this can be seen in Adam Folker's creation of the popular Vert Shock program.


> Read success stories of V.S Participants Here

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Today's top jump programs have “re-packaged” up Verkhoshanky’s original ​shock ​training methods into easy to follow, concise ​and engaging systems which can be viewed on the latest smartphones and computers. 

These are a great option for those of you who just want to learn how to get hops as fast as possible. Basically, if you want to increase your vertical jump significantly you must master the are and science of shock training.


However, in this article I am going to delve into the basic principles of “Shock Training” and give some insight into how you can incorporate them into your training regime, so you can get the hops you desire.

The box jump is not going to turn you into a Vince Carter type jumper overnight but we believe that it is an important componenet to master on you journey of learning how to jump higher. In this article we will take a look at the pro's and cons of the box jump. We hope you enjoy our ultimate guide to the box jump exercise. Be sure to read untill the end as we introduce the


BY VERTICALJUMPWORLD, Last Updated ​9 November 2017​ 7:21AM


Understanding The Fundamentals Of Shock Training

When discussing shock training it is very important to first identify the target audience at which the training will be applied. Shock training can be applied to bodybuilders, power-lifters or athletes. Each one of these categories will have very different performance goal outcomes.

As the majority of our readers are concerned with athletic jump related development I will focus on shock training as it relates to increased power and ballistic explosiveness, primarily in the lower limbs.

Traditionally speaking, shock training for the athletic population primarily focused on the ​variations of the box jump exercise.

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​Depth Drops & Depth Jumps : The Original Shock Training Exercises

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The depth drop is performed by stepping off of a predetermined height and therefore the participant experienc​es a shock upon landing.

This shock causes the muscles surrounding the impacted joints to contract in order to avoid the participant from crumbling onto the floor.

The muscles absorb force on landing as they simultaneously undertake an eccentric contraction. At this point the muscles and tendons are storing up potential energy that can then be released during the jump phase of the movement.

Athletes should be able to "stick" a landing, absorb the shock, and efficiently transfer that shock into a explosive concentric contraction heavy movement immediately.

The depth drop combined with a jump upon landing is classified as a depth jump.

Absorbing these landing forces is otherwise known as eccentric strength training. Essentially the depth drop develops the energy storing component while the depth jump also develops the energy development component.


Depth​ drops and ​depth jumps are the original “shock training exercises” and should be a major training focus for beginners who want to learn how to jump higher. Of course new era jump programs such as Vert Shock have added more innovative exercise extensions of these movements, but these are still the best 2 plyometric exercises that you can perform.


These two protocols can be used independently or together. Some athletes may only need to develop the landing and storing component while others may need to develop the explosive component. Most athletes can benefit from training both.

Both shock jumps and depth jumps will build up your reactive power which is the ability to generate the force of muscular activity immediately following a landing or the absorption of force. 

Drop jumps and regular strength training work well to build up plyometric capacity on the max force side of things​. They also build landing strength or the ability to absorb and stabilize force in the muscles involved with jumping

Did you know?   The original meaning of the word plyometric (originally spelled pliometric) was intended to mean eccentric contraction.

A box jump, as it's name suggests, simply involves jumping up onto a box. In order to optimize vertical jump enhancement benefits from the box jump it is vital to choose the correct size box. The box shoyuld be high enough to challenge your jumping ability but not so high that the movement relies on co-ordination and hip mobility in order to achieve a completed jump. Sure two athletes may claim the same box jump height, but one may have "tucked" the knees up in order to complete the jump. A true box jump should be completed with a landing stance of no greater than 90 degrees of kneee flexion.


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A huge amount of stress is applied to the body upon landing. A strong muscular system will help absorb the forces produced and subsequently protect the joints and bones from impact related injuries.

The box jump can seem like a very simple exercise however it is important to note that great care must be taken to ensure optimal results and safety. The box jump can be performed in a range of ways. For example
two foot takeoof
one foot take ooff
standing start
running start
start from bottom of squat (static)
Depth jump into box jump

Jacob Hiller does a fantastic job of teaching​ shock training methods in his popular Jump Manual


Perhaps you lack strength and stability. Of course traditional compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts will help develop this component. However, depth drop and jumps also improve jump specific leg strength in beginners that transfers to jump specific performance.

This explains why programs such as this get such amazing results without any weight training required.


​A Simple Shock Training Test

  1. Jump from a standing start (2 foot) and record jump height
  2. Depth jump from a low box height (around 6-10 inches) and record your jump height.
  3. ​Record and analyze results

If your max vertical after a depth jump was lower then your standing jump you definitely need to start shock training.


Your aim should be to increase the speed, acceleration, and height of the jump before increasing the drop height.


Verkhoshansky, recommends that you should not spend in excess of 0.2 of a second on the ground after landing.

The upper body plays a large role in the ability to dunk a basketball. The arms should work synergistically with the rest of the body during the jump movement. When leading into the penultimate step you should throw your hands down which will increase the downward directed forces. These forces will then be stored and transferred vertically as you rip your arms up explosively in the direction of the hoop. Powerful arm swings can add 5-20% to an thletes dunk height. Even on one handed dunks you can still rip the ball up with two hands at take off.
Focusing on your arms during dunking can feel akward at first. However with a little practice a fierce arm swing will become second nature. Ideally the arms swing should continue on from the flow up trough the kinetic chain initially directed through the many jumping muscles.



How To Choose The Correct Height Box For Jump Training

Basically, you should choose a box height for depth jumps that allows you to optimize speed of movement and “springiness”.

If you are only performing the drop component you should focus on landing safely and quietly on the balls of your feet. If you land hard the box is too high.

Choosing a box for depth drops that is around 15% higher than you best vertical jump height is a good starting point.

Remember to always to always perform shock training with a pair of supportive shoes on a relatively soft landing surface such as grass or rubber mats.


Advanced Shock Training Tips

Always start with simple two foot jumps and landings. As you get more advanced you can focus on increasing box height and reactive jump height. 

As you advance you can begin to add in more sport specific movements and unilateral varieties of the depth drop and jumps For example split squat and single leg landings.



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​How Much Shock Training Is Too Much?

It is very easy to overdo shock training in the early stages. Athletes who go to​ hard too early will commonly succumb to achilles and patella tendonitis, plantar fasciitis and stress fractures. Take care to warm up and always perform jump specific stretching before and after shock training sessions.

A reasonable starting point for  depth jumps or drop jumps for beginners would be to not exceed 15 ground contacts per session. Obviously well trained athletes can push this much higher.

An example shock training session may include something simple such as 3 sets of 5 reps.

Yes this seems like a very ​light training session however, you must remember that every rep of every set must be of MAX INTENSITY.

In order to get the most out of every rep take around 30-45 secs rest in between reps and anywhere between 5-10 mins between sets.

Remember this is not a cardio workout. You should not be huffing and puffing. Your focus is on max neural recruitment and optimization of the reactive properties within the musculo-tendon system.

To take your vertical jump shock training you can combine these simple shock training methods with complex training protocols ​( periodi​zed prescription of ​integrated plyometric, strength and power training routines).

If you want to learn more about advanced shock training for vertical jump improvement you should definitely check out this ​article.




Box jumps combined with depth jumps are one of our favourite plyometric exercises. However they do come with significant risk so always follow the advice from an experienced jump trainer. Never skimp on the quality of box you are landing on and always train with mental focus and intensity. Take a few breaths between jumps and visualise your explosive takeoof. Maximise the mind muscle connection throughout every jump.

Final  Thoughts on Box Jumps