C&P: stretch shortening cycle

George Locke

Double-Digit Post Count
I'm wondering about whether/when to employ a stretch shortening cycle during a clean and press.

I'm not a particularly advanced trainee, with my 1RM C&P at 24kg, but my proprioception is pretty good. With strict presses on my 40 lb bell, I have about a 7 RM, but if I do C&P with a technique that allows the use of elastic energy, transitioning rapidly from clean to press (under control), I can get around 10 reps. (I am not testing rep maxes regularly, just saying.)

Is there reason to prefer an SSC during the C&P vs. not? I imagine it makes the most difference for training singles... (I'd hesitate to try a heavy single using an SSC for risk of injury.)

More generally, I've poked around the internet to find any discussion of the reasons to program C&P vs. strict press and can't find anything.
 

George Locke

Double-Digit Post Count
Stretch-Shortening Cycle | Science for Sport

Just a kinesiology term for when you momentarily store elastic energy in the muscle and then release it like a rubber band, e.g. counter movement jump or depth jump ExRx.net : Box Depth Jump (I'm sure the phenomenon is known to you even if the term is not.)

Another way to ask my question is, when/whether/why it is important to bring the bell to a full stop after the clean rather than allow a slight "bounce" to assist the press (under control).
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
You're asking about plyometrics, it sounds like.

What we want you to do is store the energy but still pause motionless for about 1 second.

There are many techniques for "cheating" on a press - as long as you're aware of what you're doing, it's OK, but it wouldn't be my first choice because it can mess with the groove of your strict press.

-S-
 

George Locke

Double-Digit Post Count
cool, thanks. I will incorporate this into my training. (And yes, SSC describes plyo work.)

Sometimes I can't tell if I'm counting angels on the head of a pin, possibly something about having a Ph.D. but no coach?
 

Maine-ah KB

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
@George Locke I'm with Steve, I wouldn't use that variation. i have a mild pushpress problem in my press, its getting better but once somethings grooved it takes a great deal of effort to remove it as a habit.
 

kennycro@@aol.com

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
What we want you to do is store the energy but still pause motionless for about 1 second.
Dissipation of The Stretch Reflex

The energy elicited with the stretch reflex may last up to 4 seconds. However, it dissipates quickly.

..."delays as short as .02 seconds are sufficient to dissipate the benefits of prior stretch", with up to 50% of the stretch reflex being lost in one second. (Siff and Verkhoshansky, 1998). Therefore, it can be concluded that the longer the pause, the less powerful the contraction. To put it simply, the longer it sits, the heavier it gets." Source: Wilson G., B. Elliot, and G. Wood. The use of elastic energy in sport. Sports Coach. 13(3):8-10. 1990. Quoted from "Squatting: To Be Explosive, Train Explosive."

Another way to ask my question is, when/whether/why it is important to bring the bell to a full stop after the clean rather than allow a slight "bounce" to assist the press (under control).
Eliciting A Different Training Effect

As George stated, performing the Press from a Dead Stop elicits a different Training Effect vs using some momentum prior to the start of the Press to initiate the concentric part of the movement.

"When, Whether/Why..."

Each method provide a positive effect. As George basically stated, the Training Objective is the determinate factor in which method you employ.

Kenny Croxdale
 

kennycro@@aol.com

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I'm wondering about whether/when to employ a stretch shortening cycle during a clean and press.

I'm not a particularly advanced trainee, with my 1RM C&P at 24kg, but my proprioception is pretty good. With strict presses on my 40 lb bell, I have about a 7 RM, but if I do C&P with a technique that allows the use of elastic energy, transitioning rapidly from clean to press (under control), I can get around 10 reps. (I am not testing rep maxes regularly, just saying.)
Stretch Reflex Training

The Stretch Reflex elicits a different but effective training effect.

The Pro's and Con's

It develops the Stretch Reflex; Power Output. Research show that up to 18% more Power is produce with a Stretch Reflex.

You won't develop the Stretch Reflex if you don't train it. Secondly, training it will provide some carry over to a Dead Stop Press (Research Dr Tom McLaughlin/PhD Exercise Biomechanics).

The Press is an "Ascending Strength Curve" Movement; it hard in the bottom part of the movement and become easier the higher you push it. The muscle are overloaded in the first 1/3 of the movement.

Thus, Pressing from a Dead Stop overloads the muscle in approximately the first 1/3 of the movement. Overloading the muscles is one of the key factors for increasing strength and size.

The downside is that the top 2/3 of the movement is under loaded. The muscles receive some work in the top 2/3 of the movement but are not overloaded enough to obtain optimal training results.

You being able to Press a 40 lb Kettlebell with the Stretch Reflex for 10 Reps vs 7 Reps demonstrate that.

Is there reason to prefer an SSC during the C&P vs. not?
Dead Stop vs Stretch Reflex Press

Each elicits a different training effect and has it place.

Dead Stop Press

To increase strength in the first 1/3 of the Press, it needs to be preformed from a Dead Stop with heavy load.

Training Recommendations

1) Partial Dead Stops: Preforming Partial Dead Stop Press for the first 1/3 of the movement.

2) Moderately Heavy Loads (48 - 62% of your 1 RM) with 1 - 3 Reps per Set performed explosively. This is a form of what Yuri Verkhoshansky (father of Plyometrics) referred to as Isometric Ballistic Training, only minus it going Ballistic.

3) Stretch Reflex Pressing. These develop the Stretch Reflex and overload the top end part of the Press.

Technique Training

Developing technique in conjunction with Strength is vital. \

Technique is best developed with Multiple Set of 1 - 2 Repetition performed with 85E% plus of your 1 RM.

Technique Training needs to be preformed at the beginning of your exercise program.

Once muscle fatigue begins to occur, Stop. Once fatigue occurs technique is altered; you learn to perform the movement incorrectly.

Final Thought

Dead Stop and Stretch Reflex Press training complement each other, one enhance the other.

Kenny Croxdale
 

George Locke

Double-Digit Post Count
I would not...
I meant to say that I would heed your advice, not that "plyometric C&P" would be my main focus. As I said, I'm not an advanced trainee, so getting fancy isn't something I "need."

As Kenny pointed out, the training effect is a bit different. I had a strong hunch that "what are you goals" would be the main part of the answer, but, as I said, my brain whirrs. I greatly appreciate the analysis he lays out as it helps put the whirring to rest. When I'm wanting variety in my pressing, I'll know better what I'm doing.

Incidentally, I just retested a 24kg press (dead stop) and found I was much stronger with it than the last time I tested. RPE was 9+ on my left, but that's much better than the ugly grind I got last time. I've been pressing a lot. (Mostly ladders and sets of 5-6 on my 40 lb bell, on an upper/lower split doing ~two exercises/day spacing the sets out 30-120 minutes during breaks at work. Sets/day tend not to exceed 5, sometimes as few as two. I don't pretend that this is optimal, but it seems to be maintainable, I'm making slow progress, and I enjoy it.)
 
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