What is Plyometric training?

By Hannah Breske, CSCS

 

Plyometric training involves the use of jumps, hops, bounds, and/or skips to improve one’s athleticism. Plyometric activities can be separated into two categories depending upon the duration of the ground contact time: 1) fast Plyometric movements; and 2) slow Plyometric activities.

In the Science for Sport article it states that, “Plyometric training takes advantage of a fast repetitive muscle action known as the “stretch-shortening cycle”, whereas the muscle undergoes an eccentric contraction, followed by a transitional period prior to the concentric contraction.”

Examples of exercises

Breske_Hannah_MUG_RGBAs the stretch-shortening cycle exists in all forms of motion from changing direction in rugby, to jumping in basketball, and even sprinting in the 100m, it becomes obvious that all of these movements can be considered as plyometric activities.  These plyometric activities require athletes to produce high-levels of force during very fast movements.

Plyometric training is mainly used by strength and conditioning coaches to enhance the human neuromuscular function and improve the performances of both explosive and endurance athletes.  Given this, plyometrics are often used as a method of training to bridge the division between strength and speed.

What’s the difference?

Plyometrics should not be confused with ballistic training, which is basically another word for trajectory training.  Ballistic training involves the trajectory of objects, whereas plyometric training uses the previously mentioned movements. Plyometric training typically involves rapid reactive contacts with a surface, while ballistic training involves the trajectory of objects.

In conclusion, plyometric training continues to prove itself as a great training method for enhancing athletic performance.

References:

“Plyometric Training.” Science for Sport, 9 Apr. 2017, www.scienceforsport.com/plyometric-training/