The Platform: Beyond Weightlifting – the Integration of Plyometrics and Variable Resistance Loading
The lifting platform, like the rack, is a staple in most weight rooms. The platform provides a dedicated space for the deadlift and the Olympic weightlifting movements (clean, jerk press, and snatch) and their derivatives (clean high pull, jump shrug, etc.). These platforms are often above ground but more recently facilities have begun installing inlaid platforms, which are set completely flat and seamlessly with the regular flooring.
This blog highlights the unique products and training systems that Perform-X has developed that can be integrated into either existing above ground platforms or inlaid platforms to enhance speed, strength, power, and reduce the likelihood of injury.
The Perform-X Platform and Trak-X
Simply put, the above-ground platform clutters the weight room and presents a safety hazard in tripping or twisting ankles. As mentioned above, new to the weight room (or as we like to call it “the performance center”) are inlaid platforms at floor level. The Perform-X platforms are part of an integrated system that allows for loaded and unloaded plyometrics, Olympic movements and traditional weight lifting along with functional movements. The unique cord system can be used for loaded plyometrics and variable resistance deadlifts and cleans with a special integrated track system (Trak-X™) built directly into the floor.
Using the Platform for plyometrics
The ability to control the body through space and time (body awareness, coordination, quickness) is vital to athletic performance and injury prevention. This is known as proprioception – from Latin proprius, meaning “one’s own” and capio, “to take or grasp” – the sense of the relative position of one’s own parts of the body and the strength of effort being employed in movement. Proprioception, foot quickness and lower body power can be improved through plyometrics, which have stemmed from early Russian/Soviet Union practices involving hopping and/or jumping, both in a vertical and horizontal direction.
The Perform-X custom pattern and Trak-X™ system provides a progressive approach for integrating basic to advanced plyometrics. The fundamental approach to integrating plyometrics starts with basic movements in all standard directions – forward, lateral and diagonal. Once these directional movements are established, complex applications such as using boxes and barriers or cord-loaded movements can be added and progressed to enhance performance.
The Jump-X™ System allows for cord-loaded vertical jump and footwork training on either the Lift-X Platform w/Trak-X or Plyo-X Custom Floors, or on a retrofit above-ground platform or squat rack.
Using the Platform for variable resistance loading of the deadlift and clean
Besides the squat and the bench press which will be performed in the rack, the deadlift and clean are often major exercises in a strength and conditioning program that are performed on the platform. Recently, there has been an increased interest in the use of bands or cords to improve strength and power. This type of training method is referred to as variable resistance training. In brief, variable resistance training causes a ‘variation’ in the load during certain parts or throughout the range of movement of an exercise – hence the name ‘variable resistance training’. A recent scientific review article (Suchomel et al. Sports Med 2018) noted that variable resistance training offers superior advantages in producing the greatest comprehensive strength adaptations compared to other methods.
Besides being a plyometric platform as described above, cord-loaded applications for the Deadlift and the clean can also be accomplished here. The Lift-X™ Dead-X Cords and Power-X Cords allow individuals to add measurable and progressive resistance to these exercises. The unique cam-and-buckle system allows easy attachment to bars, and work with the Trak-X System on the lifting platforms.
USING THE PLATFORM FOR GROUND-BASED MOVEMENTS & STRENGTH APPLICATIONS
It is also possible to use the platform and Trak-X system for other resistance cord applications for the multi-directional movement, lower body strength, core and upper body strength exercises. Perform-X offers the following systems that can also be attached to the Trak-X on the lifting platforms: 1) Speed-X™ Lower Body Training System, which allows for cord-loaded linear and lateral applications for speed, agility and plyometrics, 2) Hip-X™ 360 System, which offers cord-loaded hip related (hip flexion, hip extension, hip abduction, hip adduction and hamstring exercises), and 3) Ult-X™ – Upper Body Cord, which allows the individual to perform all of the upper extremity motions for strength improvement – pushing, pulling, pressing, rotational movements, lifting and chopping.
Summary: Platform Integration
Like the barbell and the dumbbell, the rack and the platform are staples in every weight room. This blog highlighted the potential versatility of the platform, particularly inlaid, alongside the Trak-X system for resistance cord applications aimed at developing strength, speed-strength, proprioception, and power.
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