Plyometric Exercise and How it Boosts Performance
When it comes to being at the top of your game, there are some types of training that you just can't afford to miss. Plyometric exercise is definitely one of them.
The basis of plyometric exercise is a form of training developed years ago as a form of extreme performance boosting for athletic events and other training needs. Even despite their age though, it's still incredibly useful if you know how to harness it. There are few types of exercise out there that can boast the same benefits, and whether you use it or not, it has a place in your workouts.
What is Plyometric Exercise?
Explosive short bursts to improve power
The idea behind plyometric exercise is to utilise shock impacts that you create during extremely energetic movements. That comes from things like jumps and huge force inducing exercises. Plyometric exercises use this by then fuelling your next movement that follows immediately afterwards with this shock to push you further than you could go before.
This sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is, but stay with us. It's kind of like using your body's natural momentum for added power. There are tonnes of different ways that you can use it too. All of the benefits it has to offer gives you an edge when competing with others or even yourself as your sheer power is what is being developed. That boosts strength, speed, agility, and everything in between. It really is a force to be reckoned with.
So, what plyometric exercises can you do?
The best examples of plyometric exercises come from small tweaks to exercises you probably already know and love. The easiest areas to use this type of training though are the muscles that you use to get you off the ground rather than anything else. They already have the most explosive movement power.
- Box jumps
- Clap push-ups
- Squat Thrusters
- Medicine ball slams
- Battle rope slams
- Clean and jerks
- Lunges with jumps
Some of the most popular variations are rapid box jumps for example. You're propelling yourself upwards using the explosion in your legs to throw you up to the box. Once you have managed to get up, you immediately drop back down and, before you even get a chance to essentially reset the movement, you do the same thing again. That gives you an even more amplified boost than you had before to condition yourself to be able to do it naturally as you become used to the movement. That's the basis of plyometric exercise training. You're training your body to do it without the momentum.
Other examples where this increases your power massively are exercises like clap push-ups. You are actually pushing upwards with enough force to take your hands off the floor with enough hang time to be able to clap your hands before going back down and repeating. This creates fireworks in your pecs and your arms that are incredibly effective for building up your strength!
You can add more complex compound variations to this type of training as well though. Squat thrusters are a great place to start that need you to be in good shape cardiovascular as well as strength wise. To do it, you need to start in a push-up type position and jump forward into a squat, before jumping back again and repeating as quickly as you can. It's all multipurpose.
The General Benefits to Plyometric Exercise
Great for athletic performance
Using exercises like these are what give you the edge in performance as well as in your strength. Even when sprint training, if you focus on the movements that create the biggest strides possible so that your feet are off the floor for longer, and then pushing hard again as you do bring your feet back down to amplify it further.
This creates almost a momentum like force throughout your sprint which your body will become accustomed to. When you come back to sprinting normally, you'll still have that extra explosive contraction that pushes you further than you could do before. It's amazing for your speed.
Additions and variations
You can take this even further still when you think about the possibilities that this opens up for you. The better your performance and strength become, the more options you have the option for you to push further. It's much like other forms of exercising in that sense.
Weighted clothing is often the best way to do this, as this is what causes your muscles to need even more power in the first place. Then when you come to training without the plyometrics, you'll have way more power than you could ever expect after your training.
Functional Strength building
When you bring all of this together with your more standard workouts, you'll begin to see the difference that this kind of training can make. Even with other exercises where you can't apply the same explosive power like bench pressing after you've been working the clap push-ups, you'll still be more than likely able to push more weight than you could before as well as carry out that extra rep that you’ve been failing on before.
That means you have the perfect recipe for boosting functional strength too. That's where all of the strength you're building in your exercise actually has real-world application. you'll likely be way stronger than before, and able to do day to day activities much easier as well.
Throwing in new training techniques like this are amazing for getting you the variation that your workouts so desperately need to keep things progressing properly and can work wonders for getting you out of a plateau too. Just make sure that you don’t push yourself too hard straight away and that you are strong enough both in muscle and in your joints that you can do it safely.
Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.
If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.