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  • Writer's pictureKatie Gavin

The Importance of Plyometrics



Plyometrics, or jump/reaction training is used to develop muscular power. This is developed through the increase in speed, not how heavy a person can lift. This type of training involves short, intense bursts of activity that target fast-twitch muscle fibers in the lower body that help generate explosive power that increases speed and jumping height.


The key takeaways for doing plyometric training include: 

  • Reducing the risk of injury in competitive athletes

  • Increasing muscles size and decreasing effects of sarcopenia (age related muscle loss)

  • Increases muscular power and athleticism

  • Is a safe option for older adults to improve function-may look different for older adults than competitive athletes- but has great benefits for the older population


The next step in gaining an edge on an athlete is through implementing off-field training that includes plyometrics and strength training. The whole goal of doing plyometrics during pre-season and leading up to the season is to get accommodated to the demand of jumping, cutting and fast movements so that when the athlete does get into season its not a huge increase in training stress. 


Training volume for this depends on an athletes phase of training (where they are in their season) and experience level. These are the NSCACS recommendations and are applicable for most athletes:


Foot Contacts Per Session

Frequency 

True Beginner

30-50

2x/Week

Beginner

80-100

2x/Week

Intermediate

100-120

2-4x/Week

Advanced

120-140

2-4x/Week




As an athlete becomes more advanced in their training, their exercise selection also becomes more difficult or taxing to their system. Exercises can be developed through a series of Phases.


Phase 1- Movement and Coordination- Think things kids are exposed to when playing like running, jumping, skipping, climbing, changing direction


Phase 2- Landing and Force Absorption- Mastering the landing mechanics and the ready position 


Phase 3- Plyometric Strength- Developing forceful contractions with longer force generating contact time, and longer ground contact time


Phase 4- Plyometric Training Power- A continuum of phase 3, shortening ground contact time 

and force generating time.


An Example of what the exercises would look like as phases: 

Phase 1:

Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 4

Jumping Rope

Depth Fall Jumps

Box Jump

Depth Fall Box Jump

Once an athlete has made it to phase 4, exercise selection is based off of sport and progressed from there through a thoroughly designed periodized plan designed around an athletes seasonal schedule. 


Now a days, if you aren’t doing plyometric training as an athlete, you are cutting yourself short. There is a large body of evidence that supports plyometric training can improve jump, sprint, change of direction performance, throwing/hitting velocity, muscular strength, and even help with preventing injuries.



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