Plyometrics

Plyometrics for Beginners

There are many reasons why you should be adding plyometrics to your training regime. Whether you are an athlete, a powerlifter, or just a guy looking to build some muscle, you could benefit from plyometric exercise. Studies have shown that plyometrics can improve strength [1], power [2], acceleration [3], and endurance [4]. Whilst also being affective at improving sporting performance.

Over the last few years plyometrics has slowly become more and more popular, with both sports coaches, and with the general public. This is a good thing, because when performed correctly plyometrics can actually help lower injury risk and help you perform exercises with more control. One thing that is becoming a bit of a concern though is the watering down of the principles.

Plyometrics is a highly skilled, and surprisingly intense type of training that requires a lot of discipline from the performer. Trying to jump onto a box that’s too tall for you, for as many reps as you can do in a minute is NOT plyometrics. It may be a plyometric exercise, but the training you are doing is borderline suicidal. In this article we are going to look at everything you need to know to get started with plyometrics, and how to perform them properly.

Starting out with Plyometrics

If you’re just starting out you’ll probably be eager to start box jumping, or doing depth jumps, but if you want to avoid injury you’ll have to start with the more easy to perform exercises. It’s no use trying to jump onto a box if you can’t jump into the air properly. Practice jumping straight up in the air, or performing bounds which is where you jump as far forward as you can.

You can warm up with skipping rope, this is technically a type of plyometrics and is a great cardio exercise too. Other exercises that you can perform include hopping, agility ladders, and plyometric push ups.

Once you have got used to these exercises you can look into progressing, but this really should be a few sessions in. If this is your first ever session, try some broad jumps, hops, tuck jumps, and perhaps squat jumps (3 sets of 10 reps for each) and then call it a day. Then see how well you recover. You might be surprised at how taxing these “simple” movements are on your joints and muscles.

Progressing your Plyometric training

Once you have mastered the basics you can start to add in some of the more difficult exercises. Box jumps are always a good exercise, as are depth jumps, and lateral box jumps. You can also add in some medicine ball exercises, throwing and catching a heavy medicine ball is a great plyometric exercise and can really improve explosive power in your chest.

After you’ve mastered these you can start to get more creative, you can add exercises together. For example you could perform a depth jump of a plyo box and when you land you can sprint forward as fast as you can. You can then try performing a depth jump where you land and then immediately turn to your left/right and sprint in that direction. This will help improve your agility and change of direction speed, which is great for sports such as Football or Basketball.

You could also try a box jump, into a depth jump, into a broad jump. Experiment around with different variations and try to suit them to your unique sporting needs. For example if you are a prop in rugby then you probably don’t need to improve your change of direction speed, but adding a medicine ball toss to your program might be very useful as it can help improve your catching and throwing.

Conclusion

As you can see plyometrics should start off as a simple and low-intensity program but should eventually progress to a very challenging routine which is tailor-made to your specific needs. If you can manage to do this without trying to rush your progress you will stay injury free, and become a much more powerful and strong person.

 

 

 

 

References

[1] Blakeyl, J., Southard, D. 1987. The Combined Effects of Weight Training and Plyometrics on Dynamic Leg Strength and Leg Power. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 1(1)

[2] Ramirez-Campillo, R., Alvarez, C., Henriquez-Olguin, C., Baez, E., Martinez, C., Andrade, D., Izquierdo, M. 2013. Effects of plyometric training on endurance and explosive strength performance in competitive middle- and long-distance runners. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 28(1): 97-104

[3] Lockie, R., Murphy, A., Callaghan, S., Jeffriess, M. 2014. Effects of Sprint and Plyometrics training on field sport acceleration technique. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 28(7): 1790-1801

[4] Pellegrino, J., Ruby, B., Dumke, C. 2016. Effect of Plyometrics on the Energy Cost of Running and MHC and Titin Isoforms. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 48(1): 49-56