01 What Is Plyometrics?
Plyometrics is a term used to describe exercises where you store elastic potential energy for a second and release it into kinetic energy that makes your muscles move. It entails a muscle reaching optimum force in the least amount of time. Plyometrics is used in a very efficient way to increase UR heart rate and it also works UR whole body. As children we used to hop, skip and jump anywhere and everywhere and as grown-ups we have to incorporate these same simple principles in our training programmes to be able to fully develop power.
02 Phases Of Plyometrics
There are three phases of a plyometric exercise:
- First is the eccentric, which is the pre-stretch where the potential energy is stored.
- The second phase is the amortization phase, the pause between phase one and two. It is important to keep the amortization phase as short as possible so that the potential energy can be converted to kinetic energy.
- The last phase is the concentric phase where the movement happens.
There are also three different modes of plyometrics: upper body, lower body and the trunk.
03 Important Guidelines
Before taking part in a plyometric programme there are important guidelines to be followed in order to do these movements safely. Before taking part in any exercise programme, you should get an evaluation done to check if there are any current injuries or illnesses that might obstruct UR training. The most important thing before taking part in a plyometric training programme is technique. When landing, ensure that UR shoulders are in line with UR knees, so that your centre of gravity is over the base of support. When the technique is proper you can benefit from the exercises and prevent injuries.
04 The Role Of Strength & Balance
A certain level of strength is necessary before taking part in a plyometric training programme. The recommendation is that you should be able to squat 1.5 times your body weight and you should be able to bench up to 1 to 1.5 of your body weight. Another important factor needed for plyometrics is balance. In order to properly execute bounding, skipping and jumping exercises, you should be able to balance.
Here’s a simple way to test your balance – try to stand on one leg for 30 seconds without falling.
Special precaution should be taken if you are on the heavier side as it puts a lot more pressure on the joints which can cause an injury. Before taking part in a plyometric programme make sure the flooring is good. Concrete is not recommended for jumping, because it does not give the knees enough cushioning to absorb the shock from jumping. Also, ensure you are wearing the right footwear as this can help with absorbing the shocks.
06 Effectiveness Of Plyometrics
What makes plyometrics so effective is its high intensity training, which means, it’s very good for weight loss and for improving explosive power. It can also serve as a variation in your training programme. It is important to start with the basics, such as skipping and then progress to the harder exercises such as box jumps and depth jumps. Make sure you get enough rest between sessions. Ideally 48 hours between sessions is recommended.
07 Best Plyometric Exercises That Can Be Done Anywhere