21 Jul Reflexive / Reactive Eccentrics

Reflexive/reactive eccentrics and oscillatory reps (both in an advantageous and a disadvantageous position) are another form of training that work well especially later on in the season when we are really focusing on speed development (more so than basic strength development such as early on in the year). From what I understand these types of methods are based initially off some of the research done by Russian scientist Dr Matveyev who was looking at the relationship between agonist and antagonist muscles in athletic movements.

The idea behind such forms of training are that it allows the athlete to learn to relax a muscle before quickly firing it back up again. From a sprinting perspective I know that the coaches at Altis will often prescribe glute-ham raise single leg drops in which the athletes need to relax the muscles of the posterior chain and then get them to switch on again as quickly as possible. The idea behind such a prescription is to replicate ground contact in sprinting.

Whilst in theory these methods sound really good I think that its important that we take a step back and first think about how and when we might implement such a training method into an athletes training plan. Beneath is a possible example:

Accumulation 1 – exposure

Intensification 1 – eccentric overload

Accumulation 2 – concentric overload

Intensification 2 – re-exposure

Accumulation 3 – exposure

Intensification 3 – eccentric overload

Accumulation 4 – reflexive eccentric

Intensification 4 – re-exposure

Accumulation 5 – exposure

Intensification 5 – reflexive eccentric

Accumulation 6 – concentric overload

Intensification 6 – re-exposure

Accumulation 7 – exposure

Intensification 7 – eccentric overload

Accumulation 8 – concentric overload

Intensification 8 – re-exposure

Common exercises that I may use reflexive eccentrics with include the back squat and back squat variations eg staggered stance back squat, rear foot elevated split squats, Romanian deadlift variations with the trap bar, glute ham drops (both bilateral and unilateral) etc. There are endless possibilities if we are clever and use sound principles and logic within our programming.

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