This week our fitness gurus at Simply Gym talk us through plyometric training. In this Q&A we will find out what exactly plyometric training is, the benefits, who should to it, what you should do and more.
What is plyometric training?
Plyometric movements are quick, explosive movements starting with a muscle-lengthening (eccentric) action which is immediately followed by a muscle-shortening (concentric) action.
Plyometric training involves the use of these plyometric movements in order to increase your speed and strength, aka power.
Plyometrics was introduced in the early 1980s by a Russian Scientist named Yuri Verkhoshansky. In its early form it involved athletes dropping down from a height and then immediately jumping upwards. The shock of the landing would force an eccentric, muscle-lengthening action upon the athlete and the jump upwards introduced the immediate muscle-shortening action. The combination of stretching and contracting your muscles is what fine-tunes them.
Modern day plyometrics have evolved this ‘shock training’ into a much less intense ‘jump training’ with a greater variety in height and execution time.
What are the benefits?
Plyometric training can be used to improve the speed and strength of your legs and glutes. This will help you to develop into a much more powerful athlete.
Plyometrics also teach greater body control, as these jumping exercises require you to use various muscle groups at once to achieve your goals.
Who should do it?
Anybody can do plyometrics, it isn’t just for elite athletes.
Plyometrics can help you to train for any sport that uses explosive movements, such as football, basketball and tennis.
What should you do?
Plyometric training will involve a series of different jumps at a variety of speeds. There should also be a variety in the obstacles and equipment you are using.
Example exercises include squat jumps, where you squat down and then jump us as high as you can, jumping onto and off boxes and the more traditional vertical jumps, where you drop down from a box and then immediately jump off the ground.
If you want to get the most out of plyometric training make sure you put in maximum effort for between 10 and 100 jumps. Jump fast and high and don’t be afraid to sweat.
If you are new to plyometrics you should look to work with an experienced trainer who can show you how to carry out the exercises safely so that you avoid injury.
If you have any health problems it would be sensible to check with your doctor before starting plyometric training.
How often should you do it?
You shouldn’t do plyometrics every day, as the intense nature of the training could cause damage to your muscles if they aren’t given sufficient recovery time.
We also wouldn’t recommend starting your fitness journey with plyometrics. They can be demanding exercises so we suggest that you build up your base fitness before you start.
If you’re not feeling up to a whole plyometric training session you should consider adding some individual plyometric exercises into your usual workout routine, as you will start to see a benefit from this.
Where can you do it?
If you are looking to add plyometric movements into your usual workout routine then your local gym should have all the equipment you need.
You can also train at home, but only if you have enough space to carry out the exercises safely. If you don’t you can always head to the great-outdoors!
A member of Simply Gym’s team of professional, qualified instructors would be delighted to help you design a progressive programme which starts you off at the right level of difficulty and develops as you progress.
They will also be able to show you how to carry-out exercises safely and correctly.
If you have any further questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org