Dr. Natalia Verkhoshansky: Shock Method(DIGITAL)


The progression developed by her father and utilized by coaches around the world to successfully improve the performance of athletes.

Shock method is understood as a method that uses kinetic energy of falling weight which creates a compulsory muscle tension. This tension is brought on because of the collision between the body and the ground or the device and the body.

Dr. Verhoshansky’s presentation “Shock Method and Plyometrics updates and in-depth examination” is a breakdown of all the ins and outs including the research and publications around what her father was most known for, the depth jump exercise. Natalia starts out with breaking down research that had been translated by Dr. Yessis on the depth jump, and work of other researchers done in plyometrics, shock method, and track and field.

She then goes on to discuss the primary work done to come to the conclusion of using this method. Initially she starts out with a “definition” of Shock Method, and what qualities help contribute to not only the exercises having transfer, but for the athlete being able to perform the exercise with more success. Once this has been elaborated upon, Dr. Verkhoshansky reviews the initial study her father performed utilizing the depth jump. This comparison between squat jumps, CMJ’s, depth jumps was the driver to Dr. Verkhoshansky moving more in the direction of shock method exercises including different utilizing devices for throwing. She then discusses 3 studies on the height of the drop and its effect on training/results.

These reviews included discussing some of the misconceptions of the depth jump/shock method including: adding load to the exercise increases improvements, that greater height is better, and that it’s only jumping.

A biomechanical break down of the mechanics is what she covers next. This includes a discussion on the SSC, elasticity, and the role of the height of the fall in both of these, along with terminology and where she sees the confusion over the word “plyometric.”

She then gets into where the ideas of using these exercises came from, along with the reasoning behind them. This starts with the work of Komi looking at and identifying the stretch shortening cycle in cyclic sports, along with Bosco’s work looking at speed strength movements using many different types of jumps. This leads her directly to explaining the production of mechanical energy by the use of elasticity, and the drastically important role of the tendons in this. Next, she breaks down the role of different organelles in the muscle cell in the stretch shortening cycle and the use of shock method exercises. This very in depth break down of how the stretch reflex actually works is a fantastic review of the physiology of the movements and the involvement of the brain and CNS in these great means.

She then gets into the theoretical aspect of her presentation where she breaks down how to successfully use this powerful training means. This starts with a breakdown of the differences between two “types” of plyometrics, non-impact and impact. This leads directly into the three ways to classify plyometric exercises. These three groups lead you, step by step, to progress to depth jump/shock method exercises. This break down of each level is extremely in-depth, and is the true gem of this presentation. She provides different examples of each of the three qualifications that have been utilized by many coaches (myself included) and are extremely powerful in improving each of the classified areas of this spectrum that leads to exceptional carry over to sport form improvements. The definition of the three qualifications leads her into the two methods of using each of them, intensive vs extensive.
The final part of her presentation is a review of the actual execution of the depth jump. What the goal needs to be of the athlete while performing the depth jump is most vital, and Dr. Verkhoshonsky not only discusses that but gives examples of how she regulates this with her athletes, the volume of jumps (sets and reps) her father found to be most beneficial, and rest intervals recommended. This portion of the talk has, in my opinion, the best slide of all the talks we have seen here at The Seminar, and that slide is a step by step progression of how her father found we, as coaches, should progress the jumping exercises to depth jumps. This is all based on moving from “less powerful to most powerful” exercises. This break down included a step by step progression leads her into how she progresses upper body plyometrics and shock method exercises.

The final 25 minutes is question and answers. Many of which are FAQ’s in my experience.

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