Should Shock Training Be a Part of Your Program?

What is shock training and should it be a part of you workout program?

A shock exercise is an exercise that has a fast deceleration phase from the eccentric contraction (lowering) and concentric contraction (raising).  Plyometrics are an example of reactive work, and are specifically characterized by having a very short ground contact phase. Other examples of shock training would be a depth jump, or a depth landing. This is an exercise that involves a drop from a chosen height (appropriate to your strength), to the ground with a landing or a landing/jump combo. As a general rule of thumb it is best to start with a shock landings at a height where you can stick the landing and then progress to shock jumps. While these examples are for the legs, it is important to realize that any exercise can be done as a shock exercise, though caution is always recommended.

There are several advantages to shock training as a part of your routines:

The first advantage is also what makes these exercises risky: the forces are astronomically high, sometimes in excess of 25 times your body weight. These high forces are the result of reflexes which cause the recruitment of your strongest motor units and muscle fibers (which happen to be the most difficult to recruit). Because of this, shock training is a great way to increase eccentric strength, concentric strength, and power output. This is one of the primary reasons why athletes around the world use shock training.

The next advantage is that shock training causes an improvement in the elasticity of connective tissue. This is particularly useful for people with connective tissue issues (like tendonitis) or for people that tend to only use lifting for their exercise, as lifting encourages stiffer connective tissues. Be cautioned though, start off easy or you may be spending your time rehabbing a tendon rupture.

The next advantage is that the high intensity is metabolically expensive. It is not uncommon to see heart rates 10 t0 15 bpm higher with shock training than you see with any other form of training.  This makes it great for weight loss.

Lastly, if you do it wisely and phase yourself into shock training appropriately, it will lower your risk of athletic injuries.

Most people avoid shock training, especially as they get older. But if you want high reward, you have to do high risk, just mitigate the risk by working into it slowly.

By Jeremiah Jacobs

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