The Beginner’s Guide to Plyometric Training

First things first… what is plyometric training? We’ve been creating a beginner’s guide to workout to help anyone just starting out or looking to elevate their training. However, the guide wouldn’t be complete without discussing plyometric training! Plyometrics are a vital tool for training! Let’s find out why– 

Plyometric training is often called power training. It refers to the exercises that make a muscle reach maximal force in the shortest possible time. Plyometric exercises are quick, powerful movements. Some examples of plyometric exercises are burpees, box jumps and jump squats. Plyometric exercise are often used to help athletes develop power after the athlete has begun proper strength and conditioning program. Overall, research is somewhat limited, but when used correctly plyometric training has shown to improve the production of muscle force and power.  

Components of a Plyometric Exercise

  1. Eccentric phase- during the eccentric phase, the muscle is stretching and storing energy in it’s elastic components. An example is when a pitcher pulls his arm back in a windup before throwing the ball.
  2. Amortization- the amortization phase is a time of stabilization in which the muscle transitions from eccentric to concentric. If this phase is too long, the muscle will lose the energy stored during the eccentric phase.
  3. Concentric- during the concentric component the energy is unloaded from the muscle. This is when the pitcher throws the ball to home plate.

Program Design

When designing a plyometric exercise prescription and program design, similar factors to resistance training come into play. Those factors that should be considered are: mode, intensity, frequency, duration, recovery, progression, and a warm-up period. One important thing to consider is the sport that you are training for. There should be a basic understanding of each sport and athlete’s requirements in that sport, in order to create the safest and most effective training program. 

Plyometric exercises can be combined with resistance training. However, it is first important to understand the different types of plyometric training.

Types of Plyometrics

  • Lower body plyometrics are virtually appropriate for pretty much every sport. Whether training for volleyball, basketball, football, baseball or even track, all sports require athletes to produce a maximal amount of muscular force in short amount of time. The goal of lower body plyometric training is to produce the greatest amount of force, with the least amount of energy.
  • Upper body plyometrics include rapid, powerful upper body movements that can be seen in sports like baseball, softball, golf and tennis. Therefore, doing exercises such as upper body medicine ball throws, catches and push-ups will improve shoulder mobility, pithing velocity and in return, prevent shoulder and elbow injuries. 

Here is a sample schedule for integrating resistance and plyometric training

Day Resistance Training Plyometrics
Monday High intensity upper body Low intensity lower body
Tuesday Low intensity lower body High intensity upper body
Thursday Low intensity upper body High intensity lower body
Friday High intensity lower body Low intensity upper body

Stay Tuned

If you would like to learn more about working out, BeneFIT or physical therapy, give us a call today! New Jersey has direct access which means you can come see us without seeing your doctor! We can see you quicker than you could get in to see the doctor, while also saving you both time and money!  

Please, call us to schedule your evaluation at one of BeneFIT’s locations, Bridgewater (908.203.5200) or Chester (908.879.5700)  with one of our highly trained Doctors of Physical Therapy!

Sources:

Haff, G., & Triplett, N. T. (2016). Essentials of strength training and conditioning. Fourth edition. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

https://blog.nasm.org/fitness/developing-power-in-everyday-athletes-with-plyometrics