Just Fly Performance Podcast

Just Fly Performance Podcast

375: Rich Burnett and John Garrish on Reactive Strength Development in Plyometric Training

September 07, 2023

Today’s podcast features sports performance coaches Rich Burnett and John Garrish. Rich Burnett is the President and Director of Athletic Development for Triple F Elite Sports Training in Knoxville, TN. He is also the Co-Founder and CEO of Athletic Assessment Technology, known more commonly as Plyomat, and has over 10 years of experience working in high school, and NCAA DI strength and conditioning.  John Garrish is the Director of Athletic Development & Performance at North Broward Preparatory School in Coconut Creek, Florida, and the school’s Head Track and Field Coach.  John was voted the 2022 National High School Strength Coach of the Year by the NHSSCA and has been a two-time guest previously on this podcast, speaking on a variety of plyometric and speed training topics.

The standing vertical jump, or “countermovement” test is a very popular method of assessment for athletes and has been for some time.  What the standing vertical leap test doesn’t tell you, is how fast an athlete gets off the ground, which is generally what matters in sport, more so than how high an athlete can reach.  Reactivity is also a general coordination ability where athletes can both anticipate the ground and coordinate the proper muscle activation sequences to rebound themselves back into the air, which is critical for a variety of athletic jumping, throwing, cutting, and overall movement tasks.

On today’s show, Rich and John will get into how they train reactive ability in plyometrics, with respect to ground contact times, and the function of power that being able to get off the ground quickly provides.  We also discuss the differences between double and single-leg reactive strength tests and measurements, and how they correlate to athleticism, as well as the differences between simple plyometric movements based on contact time, versus more complex and coordinated movements, such as skips and gallops.

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View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage.

Timestamps and Main Points
4:39 – What “Reactive Strength” is, and how Rich and John use it in the scope of their training programs.

18:32 – Comparing Double vs. Single-leg reactive strength measurements, and how single-leg RSI is a “gold standard” of explosive athletic ability.

35:00 – How Rich and John go about coaching or referencing ground contact times in plyometric exercises.

48:56 – Links between bilateral reactive strength scores, trap bar deadlift ability, and core strength.

58:07 – Thoughts on more “compressed” and simple, intense plyometrics, relative to more long, rhythmic, and coordinated plyometric-type movements.

Rich Burnett and John Garrish Quotes
“RSI provided a lot of value to the sprinters, triple jumpers, and athletes that had a high level of success at the state level, go figure, had the highest RSI values” Garrish

“Just because a kid is good at the bilateral (RSI), doesn’t mean they are good at the single leg (RSI) and vice versa.  One of our best pogo kids on the 5 hop is not good at the single leg one” Burnett

“I have for sure noticed with the single leg RSI hop (single leg forward, onto one leg on the mat, land on two feet),