Computer Brake Control

The Ballistic Braking System is quite unique in that the impact of landing and impulse that must be absorbed eccentrically can be controlled and even totally eliminated. The impetus for developing the braking system was research (*Humphries et al 1994 International Journal of Sports Medicine) which reported the impact of landing from a weighted jump squat was several times body weight and had the potential to cause injury. It has also been anecdotally reported that training using ballistic movements caused muscle damage in athletes not accustomed due to the high eccentric loading. This research also demonstrated that the braking system will greatly reduce the landing impact and eccentric load by as more than 60%*.

The latest innovation in the braking system is that it can now be linked to the Ballistic Measurement System and level of braking controlled by the software. The advantage is that the brake can be activated from the top of the flight to slow the bar until landing, reducing the momentum developed and thus the stress on the athlete. As soon as they touch down in a jump or catch the bar in a throw, the brake releases to allow them to perform a normal stretch shortening cycle movement.

The image below is from the Ballistic Measurement System displaying a graph of barbell displacement with time. The red line indicates the zero position which for a jump squat would be the position of the barbell when the athlete is standing upright. When the “Brake is switched off when below zero” option is selected above, the computer switches the brake on and off at the selected percentage at the positions indicated in the figure below. The result is that braking is applied from the top of the movement to the zero point and then released so that a normal stretch shortening cycle can be performed.

*Humphries, B.J., R.U. Newton, and G.J. Wilson. The Effect of a Braking Device in Reducing the Ground Impact Forces Inherent in Plyometric Training. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 16(2): 129-133, 1994.