09 May Plyometrics
- Plyometrics can be defined as any activity that involves jumping, it is a form of athletic training that was first used with high jumpers in Soviet Russia.
- Plyometric training develops an individual’s ability to produce force at high speeds (power) in dynamic movements.
These dynamic movements consist of a stretch of the muscle, immediately followed by an explosive contraction (shortening) of the muscle. This is known as the stretch-shorten cycle (SSC).
For example, a girl using a skipping rope is performing plyometrics but at a very low level. Training plyometrics comprises of landing from a jump or drop and upon landing, immediately and forcefully rebounding into the air.
- Plyometric training is the best training method to increase jumping capabilities and to improve the explosive ability of the lower limbs.
- Although it is highly beneficial to power production and jumping ability it is not commonly used by the general public.
- This is down to the risk of developing a tendonitis injury if volume, technique and recovery is not properly managed.
- Plyometrics has no effect on fat loss or muscle growth, therefore some see it as a waste of time as no results are clearly visible.
- Below is a short video of the type of plyometric training that helped Werner Gunthor become a Bobsled and Track & Field (Shot put) Olympian – https://youtu.be/i3SMMX2Peds
- The mechanism that is responsible for the great rebound effect during plyometric training is known as the Stretch Shortening Cycle (SSC) and to understand the SSC we need to know the different types of musculature actions:
- Eccentric Phase: The muscle lengthening causing a sudden and rapid eccentric muscular tension
- Amortisation Phase: The transition between the eccentric and concentric phase.
- Concentric Phase: Muscle contraction shortens the muscle rapidly, releasing the built-up force from the eccentric phase along with its own force created by this movement.
- Plyometric training tricks the central nervous system (CNS) into creating more force. For example, when you jump off a box immediately upon landing your body eccentrically absorbs 3-5 times your own body weight of force.
- After your, CNS has adapted to the load of 3-5 times your own body weight, and a body weight jump is performed your CNS pre-loads an additional 500-700lbs of force to your jump.
- This results in a huge increase in the contraction ability of your muscle resulting in greater jump height. This is how plyometric training ‘tricks’ your CNS.
- In plyometrics, it is extremely important to build up gradually and let your body adapt to the stresses before to advance. If you advance too quickly you will not improve and may result in tendonitis.
- Concentrate on being smooth and as quiet as possible.
|Beginner Plyometric Program|
|Two-Legged Reactive Jumps
|Single Leg Reactive Jump
|1 Sets (each leg)|