The critical elements to succeeding in any sporting activity are the speed of movement and explosive power. The crucial component of developing these vital elements at the maximum level is plyometric training,
Engaging in plyometric training increases your performance in sports to a considerable extent. It can improve your speed level by a few determining seconds, increase your agility level, and height covered in the high jump with adequate training stretched over some time.
The impact that plyometric training has on the careers of athletes and sports professionals is tremendous. A number of them are grateful to these training for their improved play quality and lengthy careers.
What Is Plyometric Training?
Incorporating plyometric training into your practice and getting better at your job is very achievable. Once you’re able to establish a firm strength base, you can go ahead to incorporate it.
Adam Rosante, Strength Coach and founder of Montauk Barbell Club, says that “Plyometrics are excellent for turning strength into speed and explosive power.”
Frequently, athletes and professionals overlook power as an essential factor in improving run time. They mostly focus on speed, hills, and strength training.
But with plyometric training exercises, you’re able to get every element in the right proportion and get better at your speed (you may feel like you’ve switched over to warp-speed mode, most of the time). You’re able to make the best out of every foot strike, every stride, and the minimal ground contact you make.
Many people do not fully understand plyometric exercises. A lot of exercises that aren’t genuinely plyometric are referred to as plyometrics.
Jumping lunges, squat jumps, and box jumps, for instance, aren’t plyometric even if they seem so. Because they are longer than “two-tenths of a second,” they don’t fall under plyometric exercises. It’s the amount of time your body can spend experiencing the shock that stimulates the instinctive stretch and later on use for the return action.
Again, Rosante says that plyometric “involves a fast, high-intensity, involuntary eccentric contraction of the muscles and tendons, followed by an instant, powerful concentric contraction.“
The muscles are stretched to their fullest potential so they can shoot the farthest because the exercise is based on a stretch-shortening cycle.
Two-tenth of a second may not seem like adequate time to perform the proper activity that will improve anyone’s speed performance. But it is.
How it works is through minimal ground contact. It’s like stepping off a box, and almost immediately after your feet hit the ground, you bring them back up.
Plyometric training isn’t supposed to leave you burned out; instead, your power should be harnessed together. The way this is possible is through having several good reps.
If you take a group of men who don’t perform plyometric training regularly and put them through regular plyometric exercises for about three to four days a week, you’ll discover that after a month, their speed and agility levels have increased irrespective of the training style they took on.
This implies that plyometrics still affect your running time significantly, although it isn’t supposed to be a body conditioner.
It isn’t determined by the running level or gender of the athlete. As long as you take on an adequate level of plyometric exercises, your running time and performance will be affected positively.
If you’re an athlete that runs for miles on end or have a determined weekly mileage, engaging in plyometric training will be the best way to improve your time. Your muscles, joints, and ligaments get “over-prepared,” and the tension put on them helps build up your durability.
Now that plyometric training sounds intriguing to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should indiscriminately include them in your regular training. It has to be adequately planned and proportioned into your training to be effective.
During your exercising, it’s advisable, to begin with plyometrics. This works because it prepares your central nervous system to become tough, and cuts down on your risk of injury if done initially.
Below, is a designed plyometric training program that can be combined into your workout sessions. Remember that you should give yourself and your body a break (about 2 to 3 days) to recover from the training, and of course, continue from there.
Once all your reps have been set, do three sets of the prescribed reps, and perform them. Rest for a minute between each set, and two to three minutes between the moves. Every move should be completed explosively!
Mount upon an elevated platform, like a bench or box, and put your toes on the edge. Making sure not to jump, step out, and drop straight down. Jump straight up immediately as you hit the ground. Land subtly and complete six to eight reps.
For this, put up about four to six 10 to 12-inch hurdles in a straight line. With approximately three feet of space between each, arrange them one in front of the other.
While moving as fast as you can and making the most minimal contact, lower your body into a quarter-squat, and quickly and explosively jump over each hurdle. Again, complete four to six reps. After a while, you should either move the hurdles closer together or farther apart to increase difficulty.
DEPTH JUMP INTO MED-BALL THROW
Holding on to a medicine ball with an underhand grip, you should position yourself at the edge of an elevated platform. Then, step off that platform and drop straight down. Jump up and lunge the ball as high and far behind you as you possibly can as soon as your feet touch the ground. Complete six to eight reps.
MULTIDIRECTIONAL HURDLE HOPS
Put up five hurdles with about three feet of space between each. Stand behind the first hurdle and lower into a quarter squat. With the most minimal ground contact possible, perform a series of forwarding and lateral hops over the hurdles as fast as you can. Complete four to six reps.
With your feet firmly together, stand erect. Then bend your knees slightly and jump straight up. Your toes should be towards your shins while you’re in midair. Make sure to stress the flexion at the ankle joint. But you won’t be able to jump very high, owing to your limited knee involvement. Complete six to eight reps.
REACTIVE MED-BALL THROWS
Here, you’ll need a partner. First, stand with your knees bent in preparation to catch a medicine ball. Then your partner drops the ball right into your hands. Once you catch the ball, throw it as fast as you can against the wall. This is excellent for reaction time, power delivery, and core training. Complete six to eight reps.
ALTERNATE LEG BOUNDS
Take a few steps forward. Keep your body as low as you possibly can and then leap off from your left leg. Immediately you land on your other leg, push off again as fast as you can. Complete this rep five to seven more times.
Band Work: Get Stronger
Power training has made quantum leaps with the use of resistance bands. In a recent Iranian study, bands secured to the floor and ceiling for extra upward and downward force produced serious results.
Men were assigned one of three exercises three times a week, shown here from left to right: an assisted jump (overhead band pulling you upward); a resisted jump (floor-mounted, pulling you downward); and a body-weight jump.
Four weeks in, the resisted group ran 30-meter sprints 10 percent faster, versus 6 percent for the assisted group and 4 percent for the bodyweight group.
Emphasize resisted jumps (loop the band behind your neck); the harder you work to produce max force, the greater the power you develop. Shoot for 3 sets of 6 jumps, 3 times a week.
To Jump Higher, Learn The Deadlift
Exercising to jump higher needs to be taken seriously. Usually, there are two options available to a jumper. Either you follow a lower-body strength program that’s prescribed for you based on your body type, or just pick anyone at random.
Research had shown that those who follow prescribed workout plans are able to jump higher than they could when they started. Also, they’ve made more progress compared to others who just go with any random plan.
To excel and gain more agility for high jumping, in particular, you need to use a lower-body strength program. A number of them exist, but incorporating four sets of deadlifts and split squats into your weekly routine is a great way to ignite your jumping power.
As mentioned earlier, Plyometric training involves a high level of risk to people who take it on. But there are specific safety rules that you can take on to reduce your risk level. They are:
Firm Strength Base
Making sure that you have a firm strength base and are without injuries in your body before you try taking on plyometric training.
In the course of the landing, your shoulders should always be over your knees, and your knees should be over the toes. So, you’re not having any sideways, forward, or backward lean through the landings.
Making sure your knees and hips are slightly bent and soft with your feet shoulder-width apart is essential in protecting yourself from injuries. Knee or hip joint locking can lead to injuries when you land.
Full Foot Contact
With a full foot contact with the ground, you’re able to keep more weight on the ball of your foot instead of your heel. So whenever you need to make a quick turn-around on the landings, you’ll be able to achieve maximum power output by spending the littlest amount of time possible on the ground. The overall outcome of this is that you get soft landings and reduce your risk of getting impact injury.
Plyometric Training Before Other Exercises
Trying plyometrics after doing different exercises, especially when you’re tired, puts you at risk of injuries. You’ll not be in proper form to take on the rigors of plyometrics.
The choice of environment you decide to train in can have a crucial result on the effects of plyometric exercises for both injury prevention and training specificity.
Athletes who wish to obtain the best results in sprinting or jumping activities typically prefer to train on harder surfaces to get the most of the elastic potential of their bodies.
However, it is a good idea to train on softer surfaces during most of the training season to keep soft-tissue injuries at bay and to maintain health during high-volume workout periods.
Athletes and coaches frequently use sandy surfaces for running and jumping exercises in their initial phase of training to keep impact stresses on the lower extremities at bay.
When you land on the sand after a jump, the movement of the loose sand on the landing can put less force and stress on the tendons, ligaments, muscles, and other connective tissues.
Natural grass is one of the best plyometric training surfaces. It is firm enough for the accelerated production of force for jumping and running but also compliant enough to give sufficient cushioning on landings.
Natural grass also has a comparably good combination of horizontal and vertical compliance on ground contact when landing a running stride, a jump, or a quick-deceleration step. This diminishes the stresses on tendons and ligaments during explosive movements needed for a change of direction or fast acceleration.
These surfaces provide an excellent blend of firmness and shock absorption for all training movements. In most cases, these surfaces provide a uniformed surface that natural surfaces don’t give, which makes them a great choice.
Hardwood surfaces are mostly used for volleyball, basketball, and numerous racket sports, including racquetball, squash, and badminton. Generally, hardwood floors will give you a firm but slightly dampened surface area for sporting activities.
As with all other sports surfaces, there are some differences in hardness. It all depends on the construction and composition of the flooring.
Some may be compliant and very soft, while others can be very firm. Modernized hardwood floors have been constructed to give appropriate cushioning.
Rubberized Tracks And Floors
Synthetic track and sports surfaces are typically used for sprint and plyometric training. There is an advantage when using these types of surfaces because they are very responsive to reactive jumping exercises and other explosive activities.
The negative effects of using these types of surfaces are that they can be very solid, and extensive training on them can be stressful on the muscles, joints, and connective tissues.
Note: You should decide the condition of the training surface you intend to use and make adjustments by how your body feels.
This may mean that you should start the plyometric training on a softer outdoor training surface like grass, and if no such option is available at the time, modify the training regimen to include less stressful movements in a more progressive manner on a hardwood floor court surface.
Plyometric training increases muscle power, which ultimately lets you, jump higher, run faster, and quickly change directions for a variety of sports.
They increase performance levels in any sport that uses quick bursts such as sprinting and jumping. Also, plyometric exercises quickly and smoothly let you stretch your muscles without injury, which results in more efficient movements.
This type of training should be used by anyone who is an athlete or sports competitor.