Friday, June 11, 2010


If one looks at our website you will see a video with one of our athletes doing jumping squats on a machine with a computer screen. This is an isokinetic machine which we call the Vert machine. We have utilized isokinetic machines in our training since our inception almost 8 years ago. There are a number of advantages that these machines provide in the development of power in an athlete. The machine that you see is multipurpose and can be used for both upper body exercises as well as lower body exercises.

Isokinetic machines have been around for some time and the resistance overcome in an exercise is a function of the force applied. In other words the faster you move the greater the amount of resistance the machine provides. The machine also measures the velocity of a movement and the force production of each individual repetition. It also allows us to have a ton of additional data to evaluate our entire training protocol to ensure that the athlete is progressing at the optimum pace.

There are a number of advantages to utilizing isokinetic training in sport.
• This method of training forces the muscles to work with maximal effort all the time and renders a larger, faster increase in strength. This accommodates the athlete’s capabilities throughout the range of motion. This training also lowers the risk of injury dramatically when training for power. (James Counsilman 1971,1972)
• In my previous post I spoke about overload and adaptation. Small incremental overloads on a regular basis increase the body’s ability to perform a particular movement with greater levels of performance. I indicated in earlier posts that the biggest enemy of an athlete is time. There is only so much time to devote to training, so wasted time carries a substantial cost to the career and performance of an athlete. In most instances when athletes have adaptations to particular training the strength and conditioning coach is unaware of these changes until time has passed and the athlete tells the trainer that the exercise regimen is too easy and is no longer overloading the athlete. The isokinetic machine eliminates the cost of lost time. The minute the athlete starts the exercise the machine recognizes the increase in performance and increases the overload immediately. There is no delay!!
• Isokinetic equipment eliminates training in “no man’s land” No man’s land training is the rut that most good athletes fall into. The training is too hard for recovery and not hard enough for an overload. The athlete is taxed and tired but is not improving performance. This is where a lot of good athletes stop progressing. They dig themselves into a hole, working harder and harder but see no improvement in performance. The isokinetic equipment provides us with data to see the force production, velocity, time to peak force, and a ton of other data that allow the trainer to see if the athlete is not training at optimal levels to elicit performance improvement.

At Titan we have utilized isokinetic training for a wide spectrum of athletes. If power is a necessary component of a sport, we have developed methods that are of great impact on the production of power.

One of the most interesting areas we have spent great time on is Maximum Sustained Power. (MSD) Most coaches are very focused on absolute power. Absolute power would be displayed when a volleyball player tests there vertical jump. A 40+ inch vertical jump would be very important to a volleyball player in a game. However, what wins a tournament is the ability to jump close to 40 inches in the last game of a tournament. Most athletes will train for absolute power to get their vertical jump as high as possible. Then they do endurance training separately. At Titan we have developed innovative training to not only maximize the absolute power of one jump, but to allow the athlete to produce maximum or close to maximum power for hundreds of jumps with the use of the isokinetic equipment. An absolute jump is great, but being able to continue to produce that type of power over a long period of time is what wins games.

This idea of maximum sustained power applies to all sports just at different levels of output. When organizing your training think about your ability to produce power not just once but for a sustained period of time.

Train smart, have fun, and you will prevail.


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