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 plyometric training principles used by today's premier athletes.
The Evolution Of Shock Training
Many of the leading vertical jump programs have borrowed and manipulated components of Yuri Verkhoshansky’s early work.
Perhaps, the greatest example of the successful application of his work can be seen in Adam Folker's creation of the popular Vert Shock program.
Today's top vertical jump programs have “re-packaged” up Verkhoshanky’s original shock training methods into easy to follow, concise and engaging systems.
These "done for you" programs are a great option for those of you who just want to learn how to jump higher as fast possible.
Note: Don't forget to enroll in our free jump course Rapid Vert Gainz to start adding inches in hours!
Basically, if you want to increase your vertical jump height you must master the art and science of shock training.
In this article I am going to delve into the basic principles of “Shock Training” and give some insight into how you can incorporate it into your jump training regime.
I will also provide insight into how to use shock training, shock jumps and plyometrics for basketball performance development.
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.
Depth Drops, Shock Jumps, Depth Jumps : The Original Shock Training Exercises
The depth drop is performed by stepping off of a predetermined height and therefore the participant experiences 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 or otherwise known as a shock 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 obtain a higher vertical leap.
Of course new era jump programs such as Adam Folker's Vert Shock jump program have added more innovative exercise extensions of these movements, but these are still the best 2 plyometric exercises for vertical jump and explosive legs 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 (aka shock 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 vertical jump specific weight training work well to build up plyometric capacity and the ability to produce max force in minimal time.
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 huge amount of stress is applied to the body upon landing from a depth drop. A strong muscular system will help absorb the forces produced and subsequently protect the joints and bones from impact related injuries.
Jacob Hiller does a fantastic job of teaching shock training methods in The Jump Manual
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 Vert Shock get such amazing results without any weight training required.
A Simple Shock Training Test
- Jump from a standing start (2 foot) and record jump height
- Depth jump from a low box height (around 6-10 inches) and record your jump height.
- 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 and his innovative research, recommends that you should not spend in excess of 0.2 of a second on the ground after landing.
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.
You can check out some of our favorite shock training gear and plyo boxes in our massive roundup of the best vertical jump equipment.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 TipsAlways 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).
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 ( periodized prescription of integrated plyometric, strength and power training routines).
1) Shock Method And Plyometrics: Updates And An In-Depth Examination By N Verkhoshansky - Verkhoshansky Special Strength Training, 2012 - Verkhoshansky.Com