Why Professional and Amateur Athletes Love Plyometrics

While zumba and bokwa have become as commonplace as jogging and cycling, there’s one fitness trend that’s still exciting wellness experts and fanatics across the country, and can work wonders for your wellbeing; plyometrics. Also known as jump training, this training technique can increase your muscular power and explosiveness. Don’t believe me? Ask the Olympians! Plyometrics was originally developed for Olympic athletes, and now it has become a popular workout routine for people of all ages, including children and teens.


Plyometrics are dynamic resistance exercises that rapidly stretch your muscle (which is known as the eccentric phase) and then rapidly shortens it (or the concentric phase). For example, you undergo hopping and jumping exercises in order to subject your quadriceps to a stretch-shortening cycle that can strengthen these muscles, and then go on to an increase vertical jump so that you reduce the force of impact on your joints. The great thing about plyometric exercises is that they use similar motions to those seen in sports such as skiing, tennis, football, basketball, volleyball, and boxing. These means that professional and amateur adult athletes use plyometric training to up their performance in the game.


However, plyometric training is for everyone. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, even children and adolescents can benefit from a properly designed and supervised plyometric routine. What are these benefits, you ask? Back in the 1970s, plyometric training was first popularised by state sports trainers in the former East Germany, who based the training technique on scientific evidence showing the power of stretch-shortening cycles on the muscle. These cycles prompt your muscles’ stretch of “myotactic” reflex, and this, in turn, enhances the power of your muscular contraction.


Still, while plyometric training is vastly beneficial to your muscles and athletic performance, that is not to say that the training technique is without its risks. Some of the risks associated with plyometric training include an increased risk of injury, especially if you take up plyometrics without the adequate strength you need to begin with. This means that, before you even consider starting a plyometric training programme, you need to consult a sports medicine doctor or therapist. These medical health professionals can assess your strength and fitness level to determine whether or not you’re ready for plyometric training.


You’re also probably not a good candidate for plyometric training if you have joint or bone problems, but even if you’re a seasoned athlete at the pinnacle of your physical wellness, you still need to bear in mind that any training routine that uses explosive movement to build strength is, in itself, associated with an increased risk of injury. In fact, the reported injuries associated with plyometrics programmes of depth jumping have, within the sports science community, stirred considerable debate over the technique’s safety. Some wellness experts have even gone so far as to compare plyometrics to the now-discredited technique of high-impact aerobics, which increases your risk of injury to your lower-body joints such as your knees and ankles.


That said, plyometric training is usually safe and effective as long as you begin and continue in the proper way. As we’ve already covered, you need to make sure you’ve received adequate screening from a sports medicine doctor or therapist and, once you get the all-clear, you then need to select a qualified coach or trainer who can slowly-but-surely introduce you to more difficult exercises. Your instructor will need to match the exercises to your age and fitness level and teach you the proper landing techniques before gradually advancing you to the more difficult stages.

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