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Plyometrics are a popular training modality among athletes looking for greater agility. Plyometrics are known to improve vertical jump height and various other functional abilities important for sport performance. The adaptive changes include increased neural drive to the agonist muscles, changes in the muscle activation and/or coordination strategies, changes in the mechanical characteristics of the muscle-tendon complex of the calf muscles, changes in muscle size and/or architecture, and changes in single-fiber mechanics. These benefits should provide a good training stimulus for increased lower-body strength and power.
Hungarian researchers tested the effects of a short-term plyometric program using soccer players. In addition to their normal training routine, the workouts included two plyometric training sessions per week. Controls performed the normal training routine but did not include the plyometrics.
Plyometric training induced remarkable improvements in lower-extremity power and maximal knee extensor strength.
High-impact plyometric training can be incorporated into existing routines to support gains in lower-body strength and power.
Plateaus are an unavoidable hurdle. Incorporating plyometrics now and then may be an effective way to bust through them. Boredom is another issue that is greatly improved by mixing things up, and plyometrics is a fun change of pace. When including plyometrics, put them in on your “light days” for legs.