Fitness is incomplete without speed and strength. Though these are key elements of any athlete’s fitness training program, even you can look to focus your exercises on obtaining these benefits. And when you achieve a combination of speed and strength you can attain the holy grail of fitness, power. But not all exercises can give you the benefits of improving speed and strength to a high degree. This why over the last few years fitness experts have developed a specific method of exercise called plyometrics. These exercises can help you body react positively to powerful muscular contractions and improve your speed and strength.
So, how does it work? When a muscle is stretched, al lot of energy is lost as heat. But some energy is stored by the muscle. This energy is utilized by the muscle when there is a contraction following an extension. But to do so properly, your muscle must contract within the quickest time possible. Plyometric exercises use this as process as their core. So, you really cannot achieve ‘stretch shortening’ without plyometrics.
Ideally a plyometric workout should be a combination of exercises within a session. This is usually your personal trainer’s job, but you should also know that, You should start with exercises which are fast paced and help you develop strength in terms of increased muscular elasticity. Progressing with exercises which help you develop concentric strength, is the right way to go forward. Finishing with exercises which help you increase eccentric strength is the right way to end your session.
This, when described in terms of the exercises you should do, translates as, Starting with low hurdle jumps. Doing bounding and hopping next. Carrying on with steps or box work Applying the finishing touches with a medicine ball workout for your abs and upper body.
As with most other forms of exercise, warming up is really important even with plyometrics. Jogging, dynamic stretching and general mobility exercises form the right warm up for a plyometric session. You should also cool down after every session.
You should also not do too many repetitions of any particular plyometric exercise. Since the focus here is on speed and strength and not endurance, you can break up the entire exercise into sets and allow adequate recovery time between each set. Start a low or medium intensity, particularly if you are new to plyometrics. Also try not to do more than 40 contacts per session when you are a novice. 2 sets of 10 bunny hops equals 20 contacts and you can get the idea now perhaps.