How to be Proactive about Reactive Strength

March 25, 2013

We have previously introduced the concept of Reactive Strength (see Sparta Point). Along with Maximal Strength and Strength Endurance, Reactive Strength is one of the primary methods that we use to elicit movement signatureTM adaptations.

Reactive Strength is the ability to absorb force in one direction, and rapidly apply more force in the opposite direction (quickly switch from eccentric to concentric).  We divide reactive strength into three categories based on their type of ground contact.

  • Short: brief contact times and large amounts of force
  • Long: elongated contact times and more moderate amounts of force with each contact
  • Non-Impact:  acceleration/decelerate external load (Versapulley) without ever leaving the ground

Lateral line jumps are a Short Reactive Strength movement that emphasizes the lateral plane. Athletes must maintain body position (see Sparta Point), stiffness (see Sparta Point), and rhythm (see Sparta Point) in order to maximize height and distance on this movement.

Coaching Keys:

  • Feet together
  • Anticipate contact and "brace"
  • Recycle force by creating rhythm with the arms
For athletes who need EXPLODE, lateral line jumps are paired with a deadlift.  By complexing (see Sparta Point) these two movements, we are able to train complimentary movement qualities that will address this athletes' movement signatureTM needs.   One of the best ways to get better at a movement is to understand why you are doing it.  Next time you drop a plyo into your program, think about how you would categorize it, and which specific movement qualities you are trying to address (short, long, or non-impact).

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