Plyometrics, or jump training, is a unique form of training because unlike traditional resistance training where reps are slow and methodical, the muscle is loaded, usually with your own body weight, and then contracted rapidly, to not only build muscle, but increase strength, elasticity and reaction time so you can jump higher and run faster.
Plyometrics is used to increase the speed at which your muscle contracts, which is why plyometrics are such a popular and useful training method for several sports, but it can also be an effective way to lose weight and gain strength even if you don’t have a competitive streak.
Bottom line: Plyometrics is jumping. Typical plyometric exercises include squat jumps, jump lunges, tuck jumps, or you can also use plyometric equipment for a more intense plyo workout like jumping up on to plyo boxes or stairs, jump ropes or using a floor ladder or tires for foot drills.
It sounds pretty innocuous, but plyometrics come with a certain amount of risk- and are designed for athletic performance training for a reason. Jumping puts a lot of stress on the joints and can set you up for injury. Twisted joints and general joint discomfort can be common, so if you have injuries or nagging joints, you may want to take it slow, or skip plyos all together.
Because your muscles are being taxed in such an extreme way, more oxygen is needed to cause the contractions, which means it’s a great cardio workout, as well. Plyos can’t be your full workout routine, though. You need to engage is regular strength training activities as well so that all your muscles are worked in their full range of motion.
March 1st, 2011