Explosive power is a major asset to athletes, especially in competition. Traditional strength training can help develop this power, however the addition of plyometric exercises in your training can propel you to the next level. Adding these exercises to your strength regime can aide in the further development of muscles and improving their contraction efficiency. The addition of plyometrics to a strength training program will increase explosiveness in an athlete's start, change of direction and hip quickness.
Increased force combined with quickness and speed all are characteristics developed with plyometrics.
What are Plyometrics?
Plyometrics are exercises that involve jumping, changing direction, as well as starting and stopping in an explosive manner. Plyometrics are commonly used in addition to a strength routine to increase agility and explosiveness.
Benefits of Plyometrics
Research shows that plyometrics increase an athlete’s agility and explosiveness. Whether you are a football player, a distance swimmer or an Olympic bobsled pusher - increased agility is extremely beneficial. For football players, it will help develop a quick first step, making for an easier transition around a defender. In swimming, it directly relates to reaction times off the blocks and efficiency around the walls. It helps bobsledders with an explosive start, possibly making the difference of standing on the podium or not. This benefit of increased agility and explosive power is a result of an increased stretch shortening cycle (SSC) ability. SSC is characterized by lengthening the muscle (plyometric exercise) immediately following a muscle contraction (weight training exercise). Plyometrics in conjunction with traditional weight training can maximize SSC ability and help improve athletic performance.
How to incorporate Plyometrics in your workout?
Plyometric training can be incorporated into your current weight training workouts to produce a more complete training routine. A common way into introduce plyometrics is to pair a traditional weight lifting exericise with a plyometric exercise. The addition of these explosive exercises (ex: box jumps) between sets of a one of your standard weight exercises (ex: squat) will improve an athlete's SSC ability, improving their explosive power. Listed below are a few common pairings between weight exercises and a plyometric exercise.
Examples of Combining of Weight Training and Plyometric Exercises:
Weight Training – Plyometric Exercises
The use of plyometrics in a strength and conditioning routine is key in becoming the best athlete you can be. Not only can this combination increase an athlete’s agility and muscular explosive power, research has shown improvements in joint awareness and overall proprioception, as well. Increased stretch shortening cycle ability benefit both strength and endurance athletes and thus the use of plyometrics should be incorporated in strength routines for all elite athletes looking for improvement. Happy Training from the Bridge Team.
Be sure to check out this strength piece on in season training.