Plyometrics or ”plyos” are often overlooked in training cycles for both young and older athletes. Just because you age, does not mean you should avoid practicing for that recreation sport you still love to play. Or, if you are in school still, becoming more explosive to jump higher or sprint faster will involve progressive development of plyometrics. Plyometrics are defined as an exercise that enables a muscle to reach maximum force in a short period of time: think powerful and fast. Depending on what your goal is and your experience, plyometrics will help you start or tweak your current training program. Doing so will help prevent developing a sports related injury!
Where Do Plyometrics Fit Into Your Training Program?
One of the best times to integrate plyometrics into your training is during your warm up. This keeps the time short along with the attention and quality of movement high. Your body uses plyometrics to charge the neuromuscular system, prepare your tendons and muscle fibers for high intensity work, and elevate your heart rate. This is the perfect sports specific warm up, as an active warm up translates better to sport than a passive warm up when it comes to output and performance. Priming your body to react quickly and effectively is key to an athlete and limits the predisposition of injury. Incorporating plyos into a workout trains overall explosiveness, sprint speed, and/or vertical jump.
What Should Plyometrics Reps and Sets Look Like?
Priming and practice are the name of the game here. If you are using them as part of your warm up, three to four rounds of five to ten second efforts of ballistic movements is a good place to start. Because this is geared towards warming up and not giving all out effort, a shorter rest break (20-30 seconds) is good enough for recovery. When your aim is to improve your dynamic power then longer rest breaks should be taken, as the goal with plyometrics in general is to give a maximal amount of effort. This will require more recovery time for those muscle fibers, tendons, and the central nervous system, which coordinates these movements. Sometimes you may not feel the need for a rest break, but the quality of movement will start to diminish and potential injury risk will increase if proper rest breaks are not taken.
Is Your Body Ready For Plyos?
Everyone’s experience with athletic activities are different, but we still use guidelines to determine when it’s safe to implement plyometrics. First, you want to make sure you have full range of motion in the joints that will be used during the activity. Being able to squat with some form of load is also key to performing these, whether that is with or without a barbell will just depend on the individual. But, we definitely recommend having good squat form under load (at least 60% of your total body weight), as that will directly translate to producing max effort quality movements. Start with small and precise efforts in the beginning; just like any other skill, you cannot dive into doing 100 box jumps on day one at 30 inches.
Are You Interested In Adding Plyometrics Into Your Training?
Plyometrics help you become more explosive which is required for all sports or recreational activities. Injuries can creep in when your training program lacks a key component of the sport you are playing. If you’re struggling to incorporate the best plyometric exercises to improve performance, we have our Breakthrough Training Program that would be the perfect fit for you. The Breakthrough Training Program is a customized remote training program designed by out Doctors of Physical Therapy who specialize in strength training and sports performance If you’re interested in our custom training program fill out our inquiry form and we will complete free training call to learn more about your performance goals.