Plyometrics, also known as jump training, is a training technique designed to increase muscular power and explosiveness. Originally developed for Olympic athletes, plyometrics training has become popular for all athletes and fitness buffs. Plyometrics have many advantages for people looking to gain power, strength, build muscle and improve performance.
Plyometric training conditions the body with dynamic resistance exercises that rapidly stretch a muscle (eccentric phase) and then rapidly shorten it (concentric phase). Hopping and jumping exercises, for example, subject the quadriceps to a stretch-shortening cycle that can strengthen these muscles, increase vertical jump and reduce the force of impact on the joints.
Because plyometric exercises mimic the motions used in sports such as football and basketball, plyometric training often is used to condition professional and amateur athletes.
Benefits of Plyo
Plyometric training is associated with many benefits. First popularized in the 1970s by East Germany, it’s based on scientific evidence showing that the stretch-shortening cycle prompts the stretch or “myoactic” reflex of muscle and improves the power of muscular contraction. Plyometrics also primarily rely on fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are the ones most responsible for growth. More muscle means more calories burned at rest, which also means a leaner overall physique. A hard plyo session demands a ton of energy during the workout but the real payoff comes after as muscles work to recover, burning more calories as a result.
But you must approach plyometrics with proper technique and execution. Plyomtrics do, of course, have an associated risk of injury. If you do not execute plyos correctly, you run the risk of overtraining and can cause unwanted injuries and pain. If you utilize them properly, they can help increase your power output in your fast twitch muscle fibers, improve explosive power, activate your nervous system to improve neural output, thus improving your weightlifting techniques, which leads to more muscle and improved strength.
On the next page, we give you an exercise, discuss its execution, its benefits for size and conditioning, proper rest periods, how to integrate them in your routine and how they can help you to improve your physique.