Whether you are an athlete looking to dramatically improve your sports performance or someone who is just looking to get fitter and healthier, you must understand what plyometric exercises are and how they can help you get to your goals quickly.
By increasing your agility and providing you with explosive muscle power, plyometric workouts can help you tackle any activity that requires intense physical exertion.
At Paramount Health, we encourage people to consider including this work out in their fitness journey because of its effectiveness.
Plyometric exercise history
Plyometrics is also known as jump training. Even though it originated way back in the 1920s, it started gaining worldwide recognition only in the 1960s.
Athletes of the Soviet Bloc used plyometrics extensively in their training in the 60s and 70s. In the west it started gaining popularity after a track and field coach named Fred Wilt started incorporating these exercises into his coaching. He coined the term plyometrics – combining the Latin words “plio” (meaning more) and “metrics” (meaning length).
What is Plyometrics and how does it work?
Plyometrics is a training system designed to improve muscular power and produce explosive motion.
It includes exercises involving quick, explosive movements like jumping, hopping, bounding, etc.
It primarily targets lower body muscles such as your leg muscles and glutes.
However, you can modify your workout to include upper body exercises such as plyometric push-ups and medicine ball throws for a whole body workout
Some of the most common plyometric exercises include:
- Knee Tucks Jumps
- Barrel Jumps
- Box Jumps
- Star Drill
- Stair Running
- Cone Drill
- 40 Yard Dash
- Sprint High Knees
- And other such Burst Exercises
Are Plyometric exercises recommended for people who aren’t into sports?
The short answer is YES.
However, plyometric workouts can be quite intense. Before you start with these exercises, you must make sure that you do a thorough warm-up routine.
Plyometrics also requires careful execution to avoid injuries.
Before you embark on any intense exercise routine, it’s crucial to have a workout strategy.
This will not only help you get results faster but will also help prevent any related injuries.
Firstly, I would advise you to get an assessment done to understand your current physical condition.
Our team of experienced Chiro’s are well versed in sports assessment and are the perfect people to assist you here.
You must also take into account any previous injuries that you have had, to prevent them from recurring.
The next step is to choose the right set of exercises based on the information from the assessment.
Like I said earlier, plyometric exercises can deliver considerable benefits to your body.
But before you start with these workouts – especially if you are just beginning – I highly recommend that you talk to our expert sports chiropractor.
He will be able to guide you about movements that are right for your body and help you avoid future injuries and pain. Remember, prevention is better than cure.
The characteristics of Plyometrics
Many people confuse plyometrics with other exercises.
The best way to distinguish plyometrics from other exercises is based on it’s speed and intensity.
It utilises quick, explosive movements and maximum available power to strengthen your muscles.
The explosive power and intensity of movement come from muscle groups like hip flexors, hamstrings, and quadriceps.
Most exercises in this routine work those muscle groups.
So, if you run up and down the stairs a few times, can it be considered a plyometrics exercise? Yes, it can be, provided it’s done swiftly for 15-30 seconds without taking a break.
The three stages of Plyometrics
To understand what makes plyometrics so different from the other forms of exercise and what makes it so effective, let’s dive deeper and look at the mechanics behind plyometric movements.
It happens in 3 phases.
- The Eccentric Pre-stretch Phase: Known also as the preparatory or the pre-loading stage, this is where the muscles stretch and loads energy in preparation for the explosive action that’s to follow.
So, if you look at a vertical jumping action, this is where you squat before you launch yourself upwards.
- The Amortisation Phase: We can look at this phase as the brief delay between the eccentric stage and the next stage. Staying with the same jumping action example, a shorter amortisation phase delay will result in lesser energy being lost.
So, the jump will be more powerful and explosive.
3. The Concentric Phase: This is the final performance phase that includes a series of explosive movements by the muscles. In the above example, this phase utilises the elastic properties of your stretched muscles.
It produces an explosive jump to achieve the maximum height.
These intense processes and explosive results make plyometrics stand apart from most other forms of workout routines.
Now that you understand how plyometric exercises work, let’s look at some of the key benefits you can expect.
The benefits of Plyometrics
For people who are accustomed to milder workout routines, plyometrics can seem a bit intimidating at first.
However, once you master these exercises and begin to practice regularly, the benefits will far outweigh the efforts you put in.
Also, you won’t be able to achieve such fast results from other forms of exercises.
So, here are a few key benefits:
Plyometrics strengthens fast twitch fibers in muscles
Power is a by-product of plyometric exercises. Fast-twitch muscle fibres are responsible for generating explosive speed and power.
These fibres are often used in activities such as jumping, sprinting, and weight-training.
Fast-twitch fibres facilitate faster muscle contraction, which increases the amount of power generated by your muscles.
Plyometrics helps strengthen fast-twitch fibres by working them and strengthening them through focused movements.
It is also seen to increase the ratio of fast-twitch to slow-twitch fibres in the muscles.
Strengthen tendons and lowers injury risk
Tendons act as supports to muscle fibres which provide power. Stronger tendons mean better support for the muscles.
This, in turn, can reduce the risk of muscular injuries.
In fact, studies have shown that the practice of plyometric exercises can help in reducing injuries.
Strengthening of your tendons can also improve your body’s flexibility and overall athletic performance.
It helps burn more calories
Plyometric exercises increase calorie burn and fat loss.
So, it is ideal if you are looking to lose weight fast.
The best thing about plyometrics is that it burns calories during the workout and increases your resting metabolic rate.
That means your body will continue to burn calories even while you are resting.
Plyometrics help increase your endurance
These exercises help increase your overall stamina and muscle endurance. Meaning you can perform at a higher intensity for a longer time.
Plyometric workout increases efficiency of the neuromuscular system
When you engage in any activity, your muscles send messages to your brain and your brain controls and directs movement.
Plyometric exercises can help improve this communication. The more efficient the communication between your muscles and your brain, the better your physical performance will be.
Inclusion of plyometric exercises in your workout routine can help you achieve your fitness goals significantly faster.
It can also help you lead a much more active, healthier life.
So, have a quick chat with our expert team and learn how you can start your plyometric routines in a safe and injury-free way.
If your ready to book in simply hop onto our online booking system and schedule your next appointment.