Plyometrics are great for adding to your fitness routine and are something that I utilize with clients all the time. What are Plyometrics though? In this article Adam is going to explain. 🙂
Plyometrics, or Plyometric Training, are exercises that use explosive movements such as jumping, hopping, or bounding. These movements are quick and powerful and involve a loading phase which is the followed by a downward movement of the body, then back to an explosive muscle contraction.
The most common move that people think with plyometrics is the box jump. (This is an exercise I perform myself and will have clients do in training sessions.)
Plyometrics are sometimes referred to as reactive training or jump training. Plyometrics use what is known as the Integrated performance paradigm this states that to move with precision forces must be loaded (eccentrically), stabilized (isometrically), and then unloaded or accelerated (concentrically).
The 3 Phases of Plyometrics
There are 3 distinctive stages of plyometric training, aka reactive training, exercises.
1. Eccentric Stage
The first phase or stage of a plyometric training is known as the the Eccentric stage. It is also known as the cocking, counter movement, yielding, loading, deceleration stage.
Energy is stored during the Eccentric phase in the elastic parts of the muscle. This is a bit like stretching a rubber band to hit your brother with. 🙂
This phase increases muscle spindle activity and by prestretching the muscle before activation of the movement. \
2. Amortization Stage
The Amortization stage and is the time between eccentric and concentric contraction in the muscle when it must switch from overcoming a force to imparting a force in a specific direction. Essentially the time between the eccentric muscle action (loading or deceleration) and initiation of concentric contraction (unloading or force production).
This stage uses dynamic stabilization but it is important to remember to not have a prolonged stage or an individual will lose the elastic energy.
This Amortization stage can also be called the transition stage.
3. Concentric Stage
This Concentric stage is the part of the plyometrics where you release the rubber band. It involves concentric contractions which results in enhanced muscular performance.
Should you do Ploymetrics?
To properly perform plyometrics an individual needs to be physically capable. This means having enough balance, range of motion (ROM), joint stability, and core strength. If you have a medical issue(s) or chronic disease, plyometrics may not be the right exercises for you. The right progression of plyometrics can be applied for people to progress. Like anything else if fitness you start slow, light, and small. You work you way up to getting more advanced.
If you can do plyometrics and reactive training it will improve your neuromuscular systems sensitivity and reactivity. and increase your rate of force production aka power, motor unit recruitment, firing frequency, and coordination.
The main goal of reactive training is to improve the muscle action spectrum, which increases the speed of an individual. Basically getting your muscles and body to react faster. Your body will only move as fast as your brain and body allow it to. You can improve this with plyometric training and exercise.