There are two qualities that make any athlete great; strength and speed. Unfortunately, one of the most difficult things to do when developing a complete training program is to strike an appropriate balance between your need for strength and speed. This is one of the reasons why evaluating GRF with the force plate allows Sparta to provide our athletes with the most efficient and effective programs.
We use three primary methods of strength training at Sparta. Maximal Strength, Reactive Strength, and Strength Endurance. Reactive strength is a unique and often overlooked component of training. It is defined as the ability to absorb force in one direction, and and rapidly apply more force in the opposite direction (quickly switch from eccentric to concentric). Reactive strength serves as the link between traditional strength training and high speed skills like sprinting and throwing. Failing to properly incorporate reactive strength into your training program could be the the missing ingredient to improving your performance on the field.
Broad jumps are an awesome reactive strength movement that require great coordination, nervous system input, and body control. We use multiple broad jumps because they allow for more force production at higher speeds – more Reactive Strength. Broad jumps are especially effective for athletes who need DRIVE because of the demand for full flexion and full extension as well as good coordination of the arms for momentum.
Reactive strength and broad jumps may not be the sexiest concept in training, but they will be the distinguishing quality in every great athlete. Reactive strength is the link between being just strong and being strong and fast. So add some broad jumps to your training and see how they impact your athleticism.