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  1. #1
    Harvey Balboner's Avatar
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    Ascending - Descending Power Training

    (This is the vertical jump/power/speed training program I was talking about in the other thread.)

    Canadian Ascending - Descending Power Training


    By: Chris Thibaudeau

    Canada is a land of many strength training legends. Maybe it's the frozen tundra and the dark forests we live in or the fact that we have to carry a shovel and dig our way to work in feet of iced snow. Either way, there has been a lot of good strength training advice coming from our side of the border. No doubt that you've heard about such Eskimos as Charles Poliquin or Charlie Francis. It's possible that you also are aware of the existence of a Polar Bear named Pierre Roy. Well, for every well-known Canadian strength coach out there, there is a dozen more just as good that still dwell in the dark, unknown or unrecognized by most strength adepts. Maybe it's due to the fact that the strength coaching profession is not as respected and revered here as it is on your side of the border or in Europe. Regardless, there are great coaches around that do have some unique training methods worthy of being added to our training codex.

    Such a man is strength coach Jean Boutet. A mountain of a man who was himself a strength powerhouse and a **** good football player in his youth. This man, rugged in style and crude of words (great blues singer too!) has produced time after time incredibly powerful athletes in all the range of athletes. From youngsters to master athletes, from synchronized swimmers to football linemen. His training approach is simple, to the point and extremely effective … to say the least!

    Probably his greatest achievement as a strength coach is the training of Pascal Caron, the break man for the Canada 1 bobsled team. At the training camp Pascal turned some heads after he bench pressed 425lbs at a body weight of 175lbs (without a bench shirt or any mechanical aid/recoil gear) and ran the 60m in 6.36 (0.02 sec. faster than the actual World Record by Maurice Greene of 6.38). Among other things, he has power snatched 100kg (hang snatch actually) and hang cleaned 130kg for a triple. At a pro football combines a few years back he also bench pressed 225lbs 33 times and ran a 4.17 / 40.

    Coach Boutet's accomplishments are not limited to Pascal as he is currently training dozens of hockey players from midget up to pros (NHL and AHL), he also trains over 70 football players and dozens of other elite athletes from various sports. He is also a great football coach. Last season he was coaching two teams, one High School team and one Collegiate team and both won the provincial championship (equivalent of the state championship) and both were undefeated for a combined 24 - 0!!!

    Okay, this is not a eulogy or a biography, you will get some useful training info! Specifically I will expose you to one of Coach Boutet's most effective, yet simple, training method. The "ascending-descending" method. This method is aimed at improving lower body power to its maximum level. It is simple, brutal, and unbelievably effective.

  2. #2
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    The nuts and bolts

    The method is simple. It uses a series of exercises, each different in nature in regard to the F = ma equation. It will use one pure slow-speed strength exercise (or limit strength exercise), one strength-speed exercise, one speed-strength exercise, one reactive strength exercise and one bounding exercise.

    Exercises:
    1. Full back squat / Front squat
    2. Hang snatch / Hang clean
    3. Jump squat
    4. Hurdle jumps / Depth jumps
    5. Step up jumps

    The workout is done twice per week. The first time you start with no.5 and work up to no.1 (ascending training). In the second training you start with no.1 and work your way down to no.5 (descending training). This way, you emphasize the high speed movements once and the slower speed movements with a greater strength component once also. This will allow you to get an incredibly powerful and explosive lower body!

    Program design

    While it's not set in stone, I recommend using a 3-1 approach to this training. This means that you increase the volume during the first 3 weeks, then cut it down drastically during the fourth week to allow the body to surcompensate. During week 3 you should be at the end of the line … you should be tired and somewhat fatigued (although not excessively). Performance-wise that third week is your lowest point (keep that in mind!), but during the fourth week you get better and better and when you start a new

    4 weeks cycle you are much improved compared to the first cycle. This progression is maintained for 3 cycles.
    Here's what a sample program might look like. You'll notice that I do not write the reps, sets and load immediately. Right after the workout description there will be a list of periodization tables for each exercise explaining how much to do every week. BTW, the exercises are not supersetted, you do all the sets for exercise one then move on to exercise two etc.

  3. #3
    Harvey Balboner's Avatar
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    Table 2. (Sorry tables don't come out to clearly on boards, but you can figure it out)
    Periodization for the back squat

    Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8
    Reps 7 6 5 4 6 5 4 3
    Sets 4 5 6 3 4 5 6 3
    Load 80 % 83 % 85 % 88 % 85 % 88 % 90 % 92 %
    Tempo 3-0-1 3-0-1 3-0-1 3-0-1 3-0-1 3-0-1 3-0-1 3-0-1

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    Table 3.
    Periodization for the hang snatch

    Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8
    Reps 5 4 3 2 4 3 2 1
    Sets 4 5 6 3 4 5 6 3
    Load 83 % 85 % 88 % 90 % 88 % 90 % 92 % 95-100 %
    Tempo Explosive Explosive Explosive Explosive Explosive Explosive Explosive Explosive

  5. #5
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    Table 4.
    Periodization for the jump squat

    Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8
    Reps 10 9 8 7 9 8 7 6
    Sets 4 5 6 3 4 5 6 3
    Load 20 %* 22 %* 25 %* 27 %* 22 %* 26 %* 27 %* 30 %*
    Tempo Explosive Explosive Explosive Explosive Explosive Explosive Explosive Explosive (*) The percentage is in relation to the back squat 1RM

  6. #6
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    Table 5.
    Periodization for the hurdle jumps

    Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8
    Reps 10 10 10 10 12 12 12 12
    Sets 3 4 5 2 3 4 5 2
    Load BW* BW* BW* BW* BW* BW* BW* BW*
    Tempo Explosive Explosive Explosive Explosive Explosive Explosive Explosive Explosive
    (*) The load is body weight only

  7. #7
    Harvey Balboner's Avatar
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    Table 6.
    Periodization for the step-up jumps
    Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8
    Reps 10* 10* 10* 10* 12* 12* 12* 12*
    Sets 3 4 5 2 3 4 5 2
    Load BW** BW** BW** BW** BW** BW** BW** BW**
    Tempo Explosive Explosive Explosive Explosive Explosive Explosive Explosive Explosive
    (*) Number of reps per leg, do both legs
    (**) The load is body weight only

  8. #8
    Harvey Balboner's Avatar
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    Constructing the workouts

    To build your workouts you simply have to look at the periodization tables. Let's say that you are in week 3 and that it's your Thursday workout. That would give you:

    1. Full Back squat
    6 sets of 5 reps with 85% using a tempo of 301, 3-4 minutes between sets
    2. Hang snatch
    6 sets of 3 reps with 88 %, 2-3 minutes between sets
    3. Jump squat
    6 sets of 8 reps with 25%, 2-3 minutes between sets
    4. Hurdle jumps
    5 sets of 10 with your body weight, 1-2 minutes between sets
    5. Step-up jumps
    5 sets of 10 with your bodyweight, 1-2 minutes between sets

  9. #9
    Harvey Balboner's Avatar
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    The exercises explained

    Full back squat: Well I think that you all know this one! The type of squat used by Coach Boutet is the close-stance olympic back squat.

    1. Stand with the bar on your shoulders, feet at shoulder width, toes slightly out, bar placed on the traps.
    2. Squat down keeping the torso upright. Go down as low as possible without loosing the arch in your lower back.

    3. Stand up with the bar without leaning forward. Use your legs to stand up, not your lower back (it's not a powerlifting squat).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Ascending - Descending Power Training-ct_can_asc_01.jpg  

  10. #10
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    Hang snatch: Or more descriptively a power snatch from the hang. If you have read my article "The other kind of snatch" you will understand why this exercise is such a great power builder. I like lifts from the hang because they have the following advantages:

    a. They are the easiest olympic lifting movements to learn because it requires less coordination. Much easier to master, thus it is not as long before you can reap full benefits.

    b. The acceleration path is very short compared to movements from the ground which means that you must reach maximum velocity much faster thus you develop the capacity to showcase more power. In fact, a recent paper by Dr. Micheal Stone established that the power output during the second pull of the snatch is much greater than the power output for a full snatch.

    He also found that the second pull of a snatch is characterized by a greater rate of force development than during sprinting, providing a great power overload. In the hang snatch you isolate the second pull, which makes it a superior exercise for power development.

    1. Stand up with the bar, using a wide grip (little fingers on the wide rings), feet set at shoulder width, traps stretched, back straight and solid.
    2. Lower the bar slightly higher than the knees keeping an arched lower back.
    3. Explode upward using your legs (jump!) and your traps to pull the bar up.
    4. Catch the bar overhead.
    · Note that you can use straps for this exercise.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Ascending - Descending Power Training-ct_can_asc_02.jpg  

  11. #11
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    Jump squat: The jump squat is another great power builder. It is somewhat uncomfortable at first so you might want to start even lower than recommended until you get in the groove.

    The exercise is really simple:

    1. Stand with the bar on your shoulders, feet at shoulder width, toes slightly out, bar placed on the traps.
    2. Go down to a quarter squat and immediately jump up as high as possible.
    3. Take a few seconds to reset yourself, and do the other rep
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Ascending - Descending Power Training-ct_can_asc_03.jpg  

  12. #12
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    Hurdle jumps: You do not necessarily need hurdles to do this exercise, although they are a helpful height gage. Basically the exercise consist in doing jumps one after the other, jumping as high as possible and bringing the knees to the chest on each jump. The important coaching point is to spend as little time as possible on the ground, imagine that the ground is hot lava. The heel of your feet should never touch the ground.


    Step-up Jumps: This exercise is similar in nature to the step-up. But at the end of the movement you propel yourself in the air and land with opposite legs (ex. if you're right leg was on the box, you land with your left leg on the box). You try to have as little time as possible between each jump, while still trying to gain maximum height. Once again the important coaching point is to spend as little time as possible on the ground, imagine that the ground is hot lava. The heel of your feet should never touch the ground (but it's okay if it touches the box).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Ascending - Descending Power Training-ct_can_asc_04.jpg  

  13. #13
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    Conclusion

    So there you have it! This program has been used very successfully by athletes of all levels to significantly improve their lower body power. It is a fantastic addition to a strength training regimen for any athletes requiring strength, power and speed.
    It is a relatively simple program, yet it is very demanding. If you can go through with it for 8-16 weeks you'll have gained an incredible amount of power, explosion and speed!

    It is not a program for bodybuilders or powerlifters though, albeit they would probably benefit from one or two cycles of this training per year.

  14. #14
    bobthebuilder is offline New Member
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    What is the workout split supposed to look like, how many days do you workout per week, on what days do you do what exercises? It never says anything about that, or maybe i missed it...

  15. #15
    Harvey Balboner's Avatar
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    i think you must have missed it start reading with the second post, it tells the exercises, twice a week, then read the table for number of reps and % of weight loads to use.

  16. #16
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    work on abs for vertical jump

  17. #17
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    yes I agree abs need to be strong for explosiveness

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