With drop jumps, how do I know when I'm landing with good technique and can progress to a higher box? I understand that the landing should be silent, but how do I know it's silent enough?
Also, when landing, should I land as stiif as possible, as in minimal to no knee bend, and calves contracted? Or, can the shock be absorbed without the heel touching the ground but still so that there's a kind of bounce or stretch of the achilles tendon? Hope you understood.
you want to land in a 1/4 squat on the balls of your feet, try to keep your heel from touching the ground. as for progression you do not want to go to high only about 20% higher then your current vertical leap, so when your vertical increases your box height increases.
You should know when it is silent enough. If you are in doubt... it's not! Also think in terms of vibrations. If you feel vibrations from the landing traveling up your body, it's too high or you are too fatigued. If you can absorb a 30" box, it should feel pretty much like a 20" box. I've found that it's very abrupt for me... a certain box will be effortless and easy to stick the landing, but a couple inches higher and I can definitly feel it. It could just be me though.
As far as how you land, you have a lot of different options. Obviously the deeper the squat you land in, the higher the force you will be able to absorb. Ultimately you want to develop posterior chain stiffness, which means a very quick absorbtion phase. However, you have to have force absorbtion ability first, so you may need to land in a full squat. You also might want to try stiff-legged landings if you have a plantar flexion weakness- which is a very good possibility. I think it's very individual.
JT, would a quick absorption phase mean maybe not going the a full squat? Do you think I should/could do only one type (full squat or stiff legged) of variation at a time, or could I do both? I'm really a rookie when it comes to force absorption/reactivity etc. training. I've read the the threads here and I'm reading KB's articles, but I'm still learning. As of now, I'm jumping off a 6" box. Just trying to learn technique for now. I'm going to increase the height soon though. I got this advice from Jumanji.
Old topic, but I think before you move onto a higher height you should move onto a reactive jump, whether it be vertical, bounds or hops. And this should really only happen after you start to feel or see a slight bounce when you land. After you feel comfortable with the reactive jumps, retest then move on up. Depending on how well you are recovering you may even want to take a week or a short cycle off from drop jumps and stick to low intensity plyos. Plenty of info on this from CT or try DB Hammers Torsion training article.
Actually thanks for bringing this up because apparently I forgot to reply.
I agree with jic about mixing some things up, especially while you are still learning how to absorb power.
A quicker absorbtion phase doesn't neccessarily mean not landing in a full squat. Here's my take on it:
The depth of the squat you land on has more of an effect on which muscles you are stimulating. Landing in a deep squat will improve general posterior chain power absorbtion and is a good companion to help build strength. Landing in the "athletic position" (basically the depth you would dip to jump) will have the most carryover to overall power production. Landing with little knee bend will help improve plantar flexion strength and "stiffness" and also will probably help a lot if you are a slow jumper, that is, you jump with a ton of knee bend.
Having a quicker absorbtion phase means simply less time from when your feet contact the ground to when all your downward momentum has been completely stopped. Think about it as simply decelerating more quickly. You can land in a deep squat but still decelerate quickly, you would start bending as you contact the ground or even a little before and just drop immediately into the squat and "stick it". It's kind of tough to describe, but hopefully you get what I mean.
I'm no expert, but that is just how it seems like it plays out to me.