What Is Plyometrics? Power Training For Powerful Athletic Ability

What is Plyometrics?

New advances in science make it possible to run faster and jump higher than ever before. Plyometrics is a form of exercise which links strength with speed of movement.

There are two phases of muscle contraction during the running or jumping motion. Muscles go through a stretch (eccentric) phase and a contraction (concentric) phase.

Plyometric exercises are designed to shorten the cycle time between the two phases. A rapid cycle time allows maximum energy transfer between stretch and contraction phases.


Here’s the process explained in further detail...

The key principle of plyometric training is the stretch-shortening cycle...


An eccentric (stretching) movement is when weight is being “lowered”. When a muscle contracts eccentrically (lengthens while it contracts), it stretches to produce elastic energy, which the muscle can store.


Immediately after the eccentric movement, if the muscle contracts concentrically (shortens while it contracts), the stored elastic energy is released to produce greater force. A concentric movement is when the weight is being “lifted”.


In a vertical jump, an athlete will usually “dip down” a little bit right before jumping. This little “dip” is the eccentric movement, and the actual jump is the “concentric” movement.


A good “eccentric” (stretching/lowering) contraction is absolutely necessary to generate maximum “concentric” (lifting) force.




So how do plyometrics help?


Very simply, plyometric exercises train your muscles to store more elastic energy during the eccentric (lowering/stretching) phase. This is achieved by the rapid and intense jumps done in a typical plyometrics workout.


Not only is the muscle trained to store more elastic energy, but it is also trained to transfer this elastic energy to the concentric movement much more rapidly. This is the key to generating maximum power!


Plyometric exercises have to be done properly and with good knowledge, otherwise it can lead to overtraining and injury. The results you can achieve by performing plyometric exercises correctly are truly amazing and safe.


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