Prof. Angel Spassov, Ph.D., D.Sc.
us your OverSpeed Training questions
QUESTION: What surface would you consider for optimum
results in plyometric training? Would you use a different
surface for depth jumps than you would for bounding exercises.
I have the availability to do my training on a spring-loaded
gymnastic floor. Would this be beneficial or counter productive?
Also would depth jumps using a sand pit be of any value?
The question has to be divided into two parts:
The most effective surface and the safest surface. If
we are talking for the most effective, the surface has
to be as hard as possible. The track at the Atlanta
Olympic Games in 1996 was the hardest ever, and this
is one of the explanations for such extraordinarily
results, like Michel Johnson's astonishing 19.32 in
the 200 meters. On the other hand, that kind of surface
is difficult to be used in workouts because of the impact
on the feet, joints, bones and tendons of the legs.
That's why for maximum benefit I would prefer to use
a wooden floor, which is hard enough for training but
at the same time not as harmful as other hard surfaces.
Basketball and volleyball players, who do a lot of jumping,
play their matches on wooden floors. For the safest
surface, definitely we have prefer all-grass fields,
and then everything else. Success of any kind of plyomeric
work will depend from the circumstances how short the
contact time is between the feet and the ground after
landing until take off. Therefore, the softer the surface
is (including sand), the lighter the impact of the jumps,
because if you stay longer time on the ground after
landing and before take off, you are doing strength
work, not explosive work, consuming only the negative
part from the plyometrics -- the amortization phase.
For the maximum effect, best results can be reached
through a variety of plyometric work, in terms of how
heavy and fast it is. In this the number of the playometric
jumps has to be included too.
QUESTION: I read an article you wrote on the
benefits of high step ups and was wondering if they
are part of your weight training programs, especially
as far as the women's soccer teams are concerned.
High step ups are an important part of any conditioning
program because of the complex development of dynamic
strength in the lower extremities. The most common starting
position requires the foot of the stepping-up leg on
the box, the other leg on the floor up on the toes,
and the thigh of the stepping-up leg parallel to the
floor. I incorporate step ups for conditioning in all
OverSpeed Training programs with varying loads, depending
on the period, from 2 to 4 sets and 10 to 30 reps for
QUESTION: I have a 10-year-old son who plays
soccer at an academy in the UK. We have been told that
he will become a world-class striker if he can improve
his speed. We are really worried and all our son wants
is to become a professional footballer. If his speed
is the only thing that is stopping him then would it
be wrong for us to not try and help him?
Fortunately your son is only 10 years old and at that
age the dreams are the most important driving force
for his future. It's not very important how fast he
is now. It is important how fast he will be when he
starts to play for the first team of his academy. Physically
he is finishing the decline of the little period between
8 and 10 years when the endocrine system reaches one
of the lowest points. But from now on he will start
getting better and better. There will be another crisis
between age of 13 and 14, for about 5 to 8 months. I'm
telling you to stay calm and let the boy play this great