Monthly Archives: July 2015

Plyometric Training Basics. Part 2

There is great variability possible in plyometrics, limited only by knowledge and creativity of the coach or practitioner. Choose exercises that simulate part or all of the movements used in the sport. Choosing the safest and most effective exercises requires an intimate knowledge of movement in a given sport, and the direction force must be applied to facilitate the movement. An experienced strength and conditioning coach or trainer who doesn’t specialize in your particular sport can watch video of a sport and pick up on the main movements requiring speed and decide which specific plyometric exercises can be chosen. If an athlete has a particularly weak area of his or her game, emphasis can be placed on that movement.

Plyometrics for lower body can include: jumping, bounding, rebounding after dropping from a height (depth drops), weight-release jumps, hopping on one leg. Any of these can be performed for vertical height or vertical distance. They can also be performed in place, forward, backward or laterally. To perform weight-release jumps, hold weights in the hands and drop them as the feet leave the ground during the jump. The idea in all these methods is to rebound as rapidly as possible.

Upper body and midsection plyometrics include some of the same techniques, but primarily use medicine balls for catching and throwing in various directions with a partner, bouncing off a wall or rebounding trampoline or doing twisting movements with a medicine ball with ropes.

Volume and intensity of plyometric training must initially be low and increase over time. Within the athletes’ program, the volume of training and the intensity are inversely proportional. Bounding drills are less intense than single-leg hops, which are less intense than depth drops. The intensity of depth drops is directly proportional to the height of the jumping platform. In medicine-ball drills, intensity varies directly with the weight of the ball and the speed with which it is thrown, bounced or dropped. Continue reading “Plyometric Training Basics. Part 2” »

Plyometric Training Basics. Part 1

Originally developed in East Bloc countries, plyometric exercises are used to translate the increased strength from resistance training into increased speed and power. Although plyometrics are designed for intermediate and advanced athletes, they may be able to help you improve your game.

Beginners in fitness need to go slowly to learn proper exercise technique. Improper exercise technique increases the risk of injury. Since the fitness level of each participant is unknown and there is less supervision, there is an increased risk of injury, especially if the participant has pre-existing injuries. Therefore, the risk of use in general fitness classes are too great when related to the benefits. Coaches in athletic events can gauge whether the athlete is ready for plyometrics and closely watch their technique to avoid injury.

In athletics, as well as general fitness training, there are five stages of development. The first stage is neuromuscular facilitation, also called kinesthetic awareness. This stage involves learning to control how the body moves. The second stage is developing muscular endurance, which allows a person to be able to complete the workout routine without undue fatigue. The third and fourth stages (increased muscle mass and increased strength [the ability to exert increased force]) occur at about the same time. The fifth and final stage is development of power, which is strength with speed. The fifth stage is where plyometrics is used most effectively and requires prior development of the other four athletic qualities. Continue reading “Plyometric Training Basics. Part 1” »