Plyometrics is a type of training that was first introduced to elite Olympic athletes (first to the Soviets during the Cold War, by Dr.Yuri Verkhoshansky, 1964) but we now know that amateur athletes, adolescents, and even children can benefit from a properly designed and supervised Plyometrics program.
Plyometrics is also known as “jump training” and “reactive training.” The main purpose is to increase muscular power and explosiveness for more efficient performance.
To maximize this type of training, here are some points to help you understand Plyometrics:
Plyometrics, also known as “Reactive training” as this allows the athlete to react to the ground surface with greater speed of movement. The term ‘reactive’ specifically refers to the quick response of the muscles to the stretch reflex applied prior to the explosive movement.
Plyometrics training affects the excitability, sensitivity, and reactivity of the neuromuscular system and increases the rate of force production (power), motor unit recruitment, firing frequency, and motor unit synchronization. Before starting Plyometrics training, the athlete must have achieved an overall strength base, significant core strength, flexibility, and balance stabilization capabilities. These basic requirements would minimize risk of injury while performing the explosive movements of Plyometrics exercises. In this type of exercise, the Type IIb muscle fibers (or the Fast Glycolytic fibers) are targeted, which are characterized by high force/power/speed production but with low endurance.
Plyometrics training consists of three phases:
1) The Loading phase (Nerd term: Eccentric phase),
2) The Transition phase (Amortization phase),
3) The Unloading phase (Concentric phase)
The Loading phase is also known as the “cocking” or counter-movement phase. Imagine how an athlete does a squat prior to jumping high. This is gives the muscles a ‘pre-stretch’ which stores potential energy in the elastic components of the muscle, like when you stretch a rubber band.
The Transition phase is obviously the time between the end of the Loading and the start of the Unloading phase. This transition is a very short delay between eccentric and concentric contraction during which the muscle switches from stretching to exerting the force to the desired direction. Timing is crucial during this phase as a prolonged amortization results in less than optimal neuromuscular efficiency. A rapid transition phase leads to a more powerful response.
The Unloading phase involves a powerful concentric contraction (shortening of the muscle) that occurs right after the Transition phase. Imagine the power from a rubber band that is released after it was stretched.
Plyometrics is different from “Maximum Power Output Training” where the resistance is forcefully lifted at a given speed. Remember that to make a movement Plyometric, there has to be a ‘reaction effect’ – the muscle sort of rebounds to the next movement to create the stretch-reflex response. Focus on being “light” with your muscles: if you’re doing leg exercises, keep your feet light, refraining from double jumps. Same thing with upper body exercises, quickly explode to the next reps.
Article originally posted on http://coachbillygoco.com/2013/11/04/jump-trainingplyometrics/
See more on Billy’s Blog at www.coachbillygoco.com