‘Plyometric training (PT) involves any jumping-type exercise that aims to enable the involved muscles to reach maximal force (Wallace et al, 2010). It is a type of training involving an active muscle switching from a rapid eccentric muscle action to a rapid concentric muscle action (Gopaladhas et al., 2014). Therefore allowing episodes of explosiveness after quick, intense loading of the muscles (Yessis & Hatfield, 1986). Explosive power, a combination of force and velocity (Reid & Schneiker, 2008), exercises involves stretching the muscle (eccentric action) immediately before making a rapid concentric contraction, this replicates a process known as the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) (Behrens et al., 1995). During the SSC the pre-activated muscle is first stretched (eccentric action) and then shortened (concentric action) and in doing this increases the power output (Fernandez-Fernandez et al., 2016). Plyometric exercises are used as a training modality during different stages of an athletes training program, with aims of improving muscular power, improving athletic performance in activities involving the SSC (Flanagan & Comyns, 2008). Plyometric exercises have been used successfully in the past to elicit training responses such as increasing speed and anaerobic power output (Sharma & Multani, 2012).’
This is a section of my dissertation about plyometric training during my final year studying Sport and Exercise Science at Leeds Beckett (Met!) University. Although a bit wordy and probably the most scientific piece of writing I have ever written it does provide good background on plyometric training, why we use it as coaches and how it works. For any academics out there sorry I haven’t critiqued the literature better – probably why it only got a 2:1.
As interesting as that explanation is, it isn’t very useful. I am going to state my favourite plyometric exercises in order of difficulty (easiest first):
- The Box Jump – Although ego can sometimes get in the way, to get maximum reward try to land in an athletic position. Not a deep squat! Unfortunately, this means the height is a couple of inches lower than what you ‘could’ do. This goes for all lower body plyometric training, land in an athletic stance, whether landing on one leg or two.
- The Depth Jump (Singe leg landing optional)
- Single Leg Bounds aim for 3-8 reps on each leg.
- Band Assisted Plyo Push Up
- Medicine Ball Throw
- Explosive Landmine Throws