First, we need to start with a quick introduction to plyometric training or plyometrics. If you haven’t come across it before, plyometrics is a form of training which focuses on improving how quickly your muscles produce force. Plyometric training involves short, explosive actions which work on strength, power, speed and agility to develop athletic performance in a variety of sports. Think jumping, throwing, landing and leaping.
Here comes the science bit… (taken from the National Academy of Sports Medicine)
As our muscles stretch, they store potential elastic energy, similar to when a rubber band is stretched. Once they shorten, or unload, the stored potential energy is turned into kinetic energy, which creates movement. The faster we become at stretching and shortening, or loading and unloading our muscles, the more quickly we can generate force, and the more powerful we will be.
Improve athletic performance
Boost speed and power
1. Improve athletic performance
Plyometric training can improve performance in most sports. It was originally targeted at power athletes like sprinters, gymnasts and football players however, the benefits have been proven in a wide variety of sports where strength, speed and power are important
2. Weight loss
Plyometric training can be a great aid to weight loss. Plyometrics combines strength and cardiovascular training in one and is a great way to burn a shed load of calories. Explosive exercises are intense, using and activating most muscle groups and therefore require a lot of energy to perform.
3. Boost speed and power
Performing plyometric exercises involves repeating the stretch-shortening cycle of the muscles and training your muscles to produce this action more quickly and effectively. This in turn improves your muscular power and speed and performance in other exercises or sport.
4. Build strength
Plyometric training increases your muscle strength. Repetitive jumping, landing, throwing and catching causes your entire muscle to contract and lengthen with improves strength, definition and tone.
5. Challenge yourself
There is no denying that plyometric training is tough, you are challenging your whole body with every exercise and working your cardiovascular system to the max. However, with challenge comes change and, by incorporating regular plyometric exercises into your training routine, you’ll quickly see the benefits and improvements. You’ll be able to run faster, jump higher, throw further and continue challenging yourself as you train.
Plyometric exercises shouldn’t be ‘full on’ from the start, like any exercise, you should aim to progress as you train. Plyometric exercises are intense and, as you wouldn’t go to the gym for the first time and try and bench press your own bodyweight, you should gradually build up the intensity of your plyometric training.
You may not be able to jump at all when you start your training, instead you may begin with shifting your bodyweight from one foot to the other, progressing to a small hop and, as your muscles strengthen and you develop power and speed, you will be able to jump higher.
As with all new exercise, you should check with your doctor if you have any conditions which could affect you. Plyometric training can cause stress on your joints so you should take additional precautions if you have arthritis or other joint issues.
Fit Square classes incorporate a range of plyometric exercises performed in high intensity intervals (HIIT). Check out our class timetable and join in