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Introducing Plyometrics!

Training & Technique
Written by: arena coaches at 3 April '15 0
You are reading: Introducing Plyometrics!

In our previous article entitled Perform more “explosively” we talked about explosive force, now we would like to talk about plyometric training that has turned out to be one of the most effective ways of improving your explosive power. Power training can be beneficial, particularly if you follow a proper strength training plan.

The term “plyometrics” comes from the Greek and means “more measure/distance”. In studies into human motion, the term is used to describe a complex type of exercise.

The ultimate aim of plyometric training is to rapidly improve athletes’ ability to use their strength and to do so it needs to be incorporated after an initial period of maximum strength training.

There are a variety of plyometric exercises for both the upper and lower body. As with other forms of sports training, the choice of exercises for plyometric training should imitate as closely as possible the movements involved in the specific sport for which the training in question is being adopted.

Before suggesting some exercises, we would like to focus on three important factors:

1. Plyometric exercises should be gradually increased in intensity starting from less intensive exercises and working up to those of the highest intensity. But be careful not to increase the load! If the load is too heavy it is likely to slow down both the speed and quality of the motion and counteract the benefits of plyometrics.

2. Plyometric volume refers to the number of repetitions per session. In the case of plyometric exercises for the lower body, every time you touch the ground counts as one repetition. Beginners should perform 80-100 reps, intermediates between 100-120 reps, while advanced athletes should try to do between 120-140 reps.

3. How often to do plyometric exercises: generally speaking two or three plyometric sessions a week are sufficient. The recovery time recommended between sessions is between 48-72 hours.

Here are some exercises you can try that are particularly designed for triathletes:

  • Plyometrics for swimming: reverse crunch. Lying on the floor, hold a medicine ball between your knees. Starting at an angle of 45°, lift your knees towards your shoulders. Perform 25-30 reps for a total of 3 or 4 sets. This exercise can be combined with resistance work in the water to increase your strength and power.
  • Plyometrics for cycling: lateral jumps on a box. Stand alongside one or more boxes or place your foot on top of the box/boxes. Using only your left leg, spring up vertically trying to jump as high as possible. Land with your right foot on the box. Repeat 25-30 times for 3 or 4 sets.
  • Plyometrics for running: explosive leaps. Stand up straight with your legs the same width as your shoulders and your knees slightly flexed. Bend your knees slightly and leap upwards. Bring your knees up towards your chest, grasp them with your hands and then release them. Repeat the movement immediately upon landing 25-30 times for 3 or 4 sets.

Last but not least, bear in mind that it is advisable to perform your plyometrics at the beginning of a combined session when you are feeling freshest, because there is always a slight risk of injury with this kind of training due to the stress and intensity of the exercises.

As usual, our advice is to plan your training carefully and seek advice from somebody who can follow you properly.

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