Plyometrics is a type of exercise training that uses speed and force of different movements to build muscle power. Every time you land from a jump, your muscles get a stretch. That gives your next jump even more power. The combination of stretching and contracting your muscles whips them into shape. This workout uses maximum power to strengthen your muscles. The moves are quick and explosive, so prepare to use a lot more energy than you do in a typical strength training session.
Although people may associate plyometrics training with sports-specific athletic performance, both competitive athletes and people who train for enjoyment and general health can use plyometrics to increase their overall power. Sports and fitness experts may describe power in exercise and movement as the ability to perform strong movements at a high rate of output or speed.

1. Plyometrics, also known as jump training or plyos, are exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal of increasing power (speed-strength). This training focuses on learning to move from a muscle extension to a contraction in a rapid or “explosive” manner, such as in specialized repeated jumping.[ Chu, Donald (1998). Jumping into plyometrics (2nd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. pp. 1–4. ISBN 978-0880118460.

Components of Plyometrics:

Plyometrics involve three phases in each cycle:

  •  Eccentric Component: This phase of plyometrics involves the muscles storing potential energy as they get ready to perform a movement. Some people describe it as the cocking, loading, yielding, deceleration, or absorption phase. An example of this phase is when a person lowers themselves into a crouched position before making a jump.
  • Amortization component: During this phase, the muscles undergo dynamic stabilization. They transition from overcoming gravity and loading the energy to releasing it. The longer this phase lasts, the more potential energy gets lost. The shorter the time frame, the more powerful the releasing energy.
  • Concentric component: The final phase, the concentric component, involves contracting the muscles to release the stored energy. During a crouching jump, this phase occurs when the person uses their leg muscles to propel themselves off the ground and into the air.

What are the Benefits of Plyometrics?

  • increased power output in the muscles.
  • increased force in muscle contractions with less energy consumption.
  • faster speed of muscle contractions or speed in general.
  • improved ability to change directions quickly, which fitness professionals may refer to as agility or nimbleness.
  • overall better control when stopping and starting movements
  • increased jumping height
  • decreased risk of injury to the joints and muscles
  • improved flexibility

Plyometric Workout:

A person should start slowly and include a low number of exercises and repetitions in each session. They can then build up the number of moves or exercises they do as their strength and stamina increase.

Perform each of the following exercises with maximum effort. Start light and work your way up to heavier weights.
Take a 1–2-minute break between each set.

  1. Power squat with dumb-bells. 3 sets, 8-12 reps
  2. Power walking lunges. 3 sets, 8-12 reps per leg
  3. Power Bulgarian split squats. 3 sets, 8-12 reps per leg

Each exercise for 1 minute 3 times, taking a break of 30 seconds between each exercise
Lunge, into front kick
Side to side jump squat
Single leg glute bridge
Skaters
Standing long jump
Step up with knee raise

Leg Plyometric workout: Complete each set 3 times, taking a rest between each set.
15 bodyweight squats
10 box jump squats
15 walking lunges
15 skaters (each side)
15 step ups with dumb-bell (each leg)
15 squat jumps
10 jumping lunges

Plyometric Leg Exercises

Plyometric leg exercises often involve jumping, lunging, and other movements that focus on improving strength, power, and speed in the legs. The following are a few examples of trusted leg exercises a person may wish to try.

Squat Jump

A squat jump requires a person to get into a squat position and then perform a vertical jump. It involves these steps:

  • Stand with the legs about shoulder-width apart and the toes facing forward.
  • Crouch into a squat position, bending the knees and hips.
  • From the squat position, jump up as high as possible.
  • When coming down from the jump, land softly and return to the squat position to repeat the move.

CarrickPhisio-Plyometrics1

Box Jump

A box jump requires a sturdy platform, box, or stool onto which a person can jump. This move involves jumping from the floor to the elevated box. A person should follow these steps:

  • Place a box or another sturdy platform a few inches in front of the toes.
  • Crouch slightly and then jump, bending the knees so that both feet land on the box.
  • For more power and stability, start with the arms by the side and then swing them forward and up while jumping.

Lateral Jump

This exercise involves jumping from side to side. A person can perform it as follows:

  • Stand in a partial squat, which is where the thighs are halfway between standing straight and being parallel to the ground.
  • Push off both feet and jump to the side, as though trying to jump over an object on the floor.
  • Land softly on both feet in a partial squat.
  • Perform the same move in the opposite direction.

Once they feel comfortable performing this exercise, a person can make it more challenging by starting in a partial single-leg squat. They can push off the standing leg to jump to the side, landing softly on the other foot.

A person should start slowly and include a low number of exercises and repetitions in each session. They can then build up the number of moves or exercises they do as their strength and stamina increase.
Although plyometric exercises can help reduce injury in the long term, they can sometimes lead to overuse injuries or accidents if the person does not use caution when performing the exercises. A person should avoid plyometrics training if they:

  • do not have currently have a sufficient fitness level to support the movements
  • have pain, inflammation, or an injury
  • have reduced joint stability

If you think this is something you’d like to include into your training but are unsure if you should start plyometric training, give us a shout here in Carrick on Shannon Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic and we’d be delighted to offer you some advice and help.

CarrickPhisio-Plyometrics2