Have you seen an Olympic sprinter take off at the starting line as if it was nothing to him? Or a basketball player who can sustain a whole game?
If you’ve ever wondered how they got so much strength in such a short time, then the answer is plyometrics.
What is Plyometrics?
Plyometrics, formerly known as jump training, is a kind of exercise that focuses on both power and speed. It is similar to strength training because it aims to strengthen the muscles and it is considered a high-intensity workout. But plyometrics also takes into account the speed in which you regain power.
Plyometrics is often used in athletic training because of the “energy bursts” it creates which is helpful for athletes. These energy bursts are created because of the stretching and contracting of the muscles.
For example, if you do a squat and long jump combo, the squat becomes the stretching part which creates the short contraction that allows you to jump up. The latter is considered a short explosion of energy.
More About Plyometrics
Plyometrics is considered to be an intense workout so if it’s your first time, expect that it won’t be easy. It is a more forceful type of exercise that is hard to get used to simply because it uses up a lot of energy.
However, if you have a background in high-intensity workouts, this is going to be a great way to spice up your routine. Ideally, you shouldn’t do plyometrics unless you have experience in intense exercises.
Another thing to know about plyometrics is that it doesn’t just target one part of the body. If you will notice, the squat and long jumps don’t just focus on your legs. It engages your core muscles plus your arms so every muscle in your body is working.
Because of the nature of plyometrics, it’s highly recommended to have a trainer to guide you during your first workout sessions. This is because the high intensity can shock your muscles which can lead to injuries.
Moreover, you can slowly incorporate plyometric movements to your normal workout so that you can take advantage of your body’s momentum.
Benefits of Plyometrics in Your Workout
Other than boosting strength and power at the same time, plyometrics can do wonders to your workout. Here are some of them:
1. Improved Flexibility
One of the obvious benefits of plyometrics is flexibility. Since you’re working on your muscles all throughout the exercise, your flexibility will improve.
This is because the stretching and contracting movements help stretch the muscles themselves. In effect, your muscles get used to the stretches which result in more flexible movements.
2. Faster Strength Recovery
Thanks to the contracting motion of plyometrics exercises, your muscles are trained to become stronger. Even with a few reps done in one exercise, these reps already make a difference.
So if you’re into weightlifting, soccer, basketball, or any high-impact sports, trying out plyometrics can help train your muscles to gain more strength. Over time, you will find your sports more manageable than before.
3. Better Endurance
It comes as no surprise that one of the benefits of plyometrics is better endurance. Endurance refers to your body’s ability to remain active in spite of the strain or fatigue your muscles are experiencing.
Having a better endurance will help you retain your energy all throughout your workout. This can also carry over to the sports you play. With plyometrics, you can improve your endurance so that it can last you one whole match.
4. Improves Performance in Sports
Finally, consistent practice in plyometrics will help improve your performance in sports. For one thing, you will be able to run faster and jump higher.
So if you’re playing frisbee, basketball, and football, learning plyometrics will greatly increase your performance. This will also help prevent injuries that you can get during high-impact sports.
A bonus advantage of doing plyometrics is that once you know how to do it, you can already start doing it at home. You don’t need equipment or tools to practice it even. All you need is a mat where you can land safely on. Since a lot of plyometric moves involve jumping high, wearing the right shoes will help a lot, too.