Ballistic Training and Why You Want It!
Ballistic training is a form of exercise used to promote dynamic movement; it is usually conditioning through explosive exercises such as Olympic lifts, weighted jumps, plyometrics, resisted sprints and ball throws. Think of it like this; strength training increases the amount of force you can produce while ballistic training increases the speed at which you can apply that force.
Ballistic training is often reserved for athletes as they are required to rapidly produce force, but this form of training has just as many benefits beyond the realms of sport.
Performing explosive lifts is one of the most effective methods of tackling joint pain like ankles and knees in the long term as it conditions our joint’s ability to absorb shock and produce rapid force. It is vital for wellbeing to be able to produce force quickly as we were built to move and not all activities throughout the day are performed at slow and controlled speeds.
The key with all ballistic exercises is to execute with intent and apply force as quickly as possible.
For example, think about how you squat; how quickly do you apply force when you squat with a barbell on your back? For most lifts you will produce just enough force so that you can lift the weight up at a comfortable speed. Now instead picture yourself lifting that weight as hard and as fast as you possibly can, chances are that your feet will leave the ground, this changes it from a strength to power exercise.
Another example of a variation would be instead of a push up, perform it fast enough so that your hands come off the floor. Subjecting your body to high intent movements is what’s missing from most routines and it is both a stimulating and exciting addition to training. I’ve mentioned in previous blogs that multiple research sources have identified that jumping with added weight actually reduces that impact upon landing, with this in mind more people should take this training on board and feel comfortable pushing their boundaries.
Something to keep in mind when doing ballistic training is to ensure increased rest periods. Because ballistic exercises are to be executed with maximum intent, it results in more neural fatigue than it does muscular fatigue. What this means is that by working your body as hard as possible repeatedly, you are stimulating your nervous system to enter ‘fight or flight’ which means that you require even more time to let yourself come down. As this form of training is very taxing, it is important that increased rest is prescribed for each exercise so that both the mind and body can recover. I look forward to seeing you 9.15am Wednesdays for some ballistic training!!
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