HMMR Podcast Episode 274: Bounce (with Ben Simons)

We often think of explosiveness as just one quality, but the fastest sprinter isn’t always the best bobsledder or long jumper. Explosiveness can be expressed in different ways. Olympic bobsledder Ben Simons is well known on social media for his jumping exploits. On this week’s episode he talks about optimizing your plyometric training, the demands of bobsled training, and much more.

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Notes and quotes

Ben Simons is a 3-time Olympic bobsledder, online coach, and former track and field athlete. This episode is brought to you by Swift Performance. Their EZE Jump Mat combines accuracy, usability, and durability. One of many Swift solutions to help improve training assessments.

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 2:45 – Nick’s rant of physical education and getting kids to move.
  • 7:00 – What does it take to transition to the bobsled?
  • 13:30 – Transfer of speed to the ice and mechanical differences between sprinting and pushing: “The main difference in bobsled sprinting is no arms. Without the swing of the arms, you don’t get as much natural stretch across the obliques, so you see more hip oscillation to compensate.” “The other difference is the velocity, it starts much slower until about 25m, then it transitions to maximum velocity much faster due to gravity as you start going downhill.”
  • 20:00 – Pushing vs. pulling in sprint training and what is too heavy.
  • 24:30 – Men’s vs women’s bobsled.
  • 25:30 – Current focus in jumps training.
  • 30:00 – Developing a filter for social media: “When looking through social media I ask: how non-impactful will be it be on my overall training day, will it have transfer to my movement/sport, and will it be fun?”
  • 32:45 – Sprinting and jumping with implements.
  • 34:30 – Experimenting with depth jump variations.
  • 36:15 – The role of ground contact time in plyometrics: “I don’t know if I look at plyometrics as needing to match the ground contact time of your sport. If you already get a lot of contacts in your sport at a certain contact time, do you need more there?”
  • 40:30 – Jump testing.
  • 44:15 – Influences from Michael Khmel and perspectives on high frequency training: “Starting acceleration sets up everything thereafter. If stride one isn’t right, there’s no coming back. And we can work starting acceleration almost daily.”
  • 48:30 – Getting back to basics.
  • 51:15 – The hardest event in track and field and what makes a good crossover jumper/sprinter: “What makes the long jump so difficult is that there is little room for error. You have 120ms that dictate the jump. There are no subsequent phases to mitigate any slight mistake. You have a very narrow window to get it right.”

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