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Plyometrics: Derick Robinson slam dunks

Derick Robinson blazes faster than the road-runner through the top of the key past his opponents, he takes off with blistering explosiveness as he soars way above the rim with his arm stretched out and slam dunks the basketball with powerful execution.

The pulse of the dunk elicits loud screams of awe and cheer but it is not only the dunk that gets the crowd rallied up. Robinson’s height of only 5’9 is what really turns heads and raises eyebrows.

“I’ve been jumping since I was a little kid but I didn’t know I could enhance my flight until I started working really hard at it. Right now I’ve added 14 inches to my vertical jump,” Robinson said.

The secret behind Robinson’s ability to jump higher and dunk on a 10-foot rim are the workouts he implements from time to time- Plyometrics.

Plyometrics are exercises that merge physical qualities of speed and strength. This involves the toughening of tissues and training of nerve cells to stimulate a pattern of muscle contraction. These exercises help a person to run faster, hit harder, throw further and jump higher.

The Eastern Europeans first used plyometrics in the 1970s to develop greater strength and power in their Olympic athletes. They based their programs on scientific evidence that stretching muscles prior to contracting them enhance muscle contraction according to the American Council on Exercises (ACE.)

Sports Massage Therapist Dennis Wright from Miller-Motte Technical College states it is a workout that focuses on enhancement of muscles in the body

“Plyometrics bridge the gap between speed and strength thus developing power. Muscle mass versus velocity equals power which results in explosiveness. Some exercises include leg training, box jumps and core training,” Wright said.

When used safely and effectively, benefits from Plyometrics result in stronger muscles, increased vertical jump and decreased impact forces on the joints.

Plyometric exercises are generally tailored to athletes but Wright recommended it as part of any regular workout if proper precautions are taken.

“Plyometrics should only be used after you’ve conditioned the body and developed adequate core strength and joint stability. That’s when you mostly benefit,” Wright said.

Plyometric training has its benefits but has received its fair share of criticism. It is labeled as complex and extremely dangerous.

Anybody considering Plyometric training should proceed with extreme caution due to reported cases of injury and severe muscle cramps from dangerous Plyometric programs such as depth jumping and drop jumping. Some of these programs involve jumping up and down from boxes or benches that are as high as 42 inches.

The ACE recommends only simple ground-level jumps from soft surfaces and training under proper supervision for anyone, even athletes. Plyometric training can be a smart addition to a healthy individual’s training program, as long as it is used wisely.

“When you start out with plyometrics, it is not something you should do by yourself. I had a trainer help me with my jump training,” Robinson said.

 Robinson is fairly pleased with his results after 16 straight weeks of plyometric training.

“I feel like it’s definitely helped me a lot with my basketball even though it took some work. It was worth it because when I take off on the court it’s like I got springs in my legs,” Robinson said.

He's got a big ego...

If you got Kanye West and MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) in the same sentence, be aware it’s a recipe for disaster. If Kanye West had a middle name it would be controversy.

 One of hip-hop’s attention-grabbing and biggest icons is at it again and has the media in a frenzy. It seems as if Mr. West has dug a grave for himself and his music but he’s definitely up to something. This is another one of those moments West could add to his collection of overly sensational outbursts.  

On September 13, Taylor Swift had won her very first award at the 2009 MTV VMAs. It was an incredibly special moment for the talented country pop singer but it was short-lived. Swift’s graceful acceptance speech was disrupted as West stormed the stage and  snatched the mic from the debutant winner. Then all hell broke loose.

“I’m sorry, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time, one of the best videos of all time!” as the rapper obnoxiously projected out onto the stage. There’s no doubt that West’s crazy stunt on stage was disrespectful, disgusting and inexcusable. 

However, West couldn’t care less if Beyoncé won or not because there is a hidden agenda in all of this. To tell the truth, I’m not surprised at all. In one single moment, West stole Swift’s deserved spotlight and diverged all the attention away from MTV’s award show which was also a tribute to the late Michael Jackson (Gosh, how many more tributes could there possibly be?)

As a result, West catapulted himself to the top of the latest events. As of now, he’s become one of the leading trend topics on Twitter and there are countless status updates bashing and praising West on Facebook. He’s the one making headlines, not Taylor Swift and that is exactly what he wants. 

West already issued an apology to Swift but  the damage has been already done. This is not the first time that West has done something like this. Anything this shocking  is usually an attempt to promote his work and flaunt his over-sized ego.

On November 14, 2004, the hip-hop artist hijacked the stage in similar fashion at the American Music Awards (AMAs) claiming he should have won the Best New Artist,  

“Upon hearing he has lost the Best New Artist award to ‘redneck woman’ Gretchen Wilson, West storms out of the AMAs in a show of protest. He later tells reporters, ‘I felt like I was definitely robbed, and I refused to give any politically correct bullsh–ass comment … I was the best new artist this year,'”  according to an article from MTV.com.

It’s a clear sign that West has a sore-loser complex. He will parade on any other artist’s accomplishment any chance he gets, forcing all the focus onto himself and his music.

After hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the Red Cross organized a fundraiser for Hurricane Relief. It was going well until West opened his mouth that caused more chaos on an already critical event.

“Back in 2005, the rapper felt entitled to the best album award at the Grammys, so he issued a very brazen warning during a pre-show interview. Then in 2006, Kanye had an onstage outburst when he didn’t win at the MTV Europe Music Awards. But, the incident that may top them all is Kanye’s outburst during a 2005 Hurricane Katrina fundraiser concert, when he stated that ‘George Bush doesn’t care about black people,’”  Mashable.com reported.

No doubt the rapper was entitled to his opinion but I feel as if that controversial statement somehow overshadowed the good intentions the Red Cross had.  Once again all eyes were on Kanye West and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

 In September 2007, Kanye West staged a rivalry with friend and fellow rapper 50 Cent prior to the simultaneous release of their respective albums in a desperate attempt to boost marketing sales. They aggressively used the media to their advantage. They taunted each other on late-night shows and acted out their “beef”  on award shows National Public Radio reporter Christopher Johnson reported.

I  think I’ve figured it out. An already established artist like Kanye West is so obsessed with the attention from the media. He has an insatiable urge to constantly be on top and doesn’t care who he offends or hurts to get there.  

He may be an obnoxious  and an inconsiderate rapper  but know that is typical Kanye West. Either love  him or hate him. After all, he’s got a big “uh uh huh egoooooooo.”