What is Plyometrics?
Plyometric exercises are dynamic or explosive in nature and take advantage of the stretch shortening cycle (SSC) which is the storage of elastic energy and challenges your fast twitch fibres. Basically it’s any type of explosive movement which usually propels you off the floor.
Examples of Plyometric Exercises
Jump, bound, hop, depth jumps, skip, box jumps, explosive pushups, medicine ball throws (wall balls).
Why use Plyometrics?
They build muscle power, strength, balance, co-ordination, agility and they increase your cardiovascular fitness.
Incorporating Plyometrics With Other Styles of Training
In 1992 the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA) conducted a study in the effectiveness of three training programs for explosive leg power to maximise the vertical jump – Squat, Plyometrics and Squat+Plyometrics.
48 subjects were divided into 4 groups including a control group and trained twice a week for 7 weeks in their respective training programs being Squats, Plyometrics or a combination of both.
- The Squat group increased their vertical jump by 3.3cm.
- The Plyometric group increased their vertical jump by 3.81cm
- The Squat + Plyometric group increased their vertical jump by 10.67cm
- Implementing both squatting and plyometrics have a much greater benefit than done on their own.
Guidelines & Caution When Using these Exercises
- As these can be highly co-ordinated, high impact and skilful movements, make sure you have a good understanding of the drill and technique
- Make sure you do it on a firm but forgiving surface ie. not concrete
- Don’t do them consecutively because like strength training, the muscles need time to recover and rebuild.
- Land correctly to absorb force
- Maximum speed and effort
- Make sure you do a thorough warmup
- Remember this is just one style of training and should be incorporated with other methods to take full advantage of strength training.