Introduction to Plyometrics 2003

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When, Why, How and How Much Cameron T. Gary

The Term “Plyometric” Defined: 

The Term “Plyometric” Defined Derived from the Greek roots plethyein, meaning “to increase” “Plio” = more “Metric” = measure Noted track coach Fred Wilt Credited with being the first American to use this term (circa 1975)

More Plyometric History: 

More Plyometric History These methods were used in Soviet bloc countries for several years prior to the 1970s Notable Names: Yuri Verkhoshansky – noted Soviet coach and pioneer in the field Valeri Borzov – Olympic gold medalist sprinter Probably the one who made Americans realize that things had changed…

The Goal of Plyometrics: 

The Goal of Plyometrics A form of strength/resistance training Designed to impart a load on the muscles Best done with movements consistent with/specific to the athletic skill or event Intended to have the muscle respond with: Maximal strength As quickly as possible

What IS a Plyometric movement?: 

What IS a Plyometric movement? An athletic movement that causes a muscle to quickly stretch while it is trying to shorten This movement causes a change of direction Upward Sideways It is a two-part movement The muscle yields so that the skeleton can “load” this imposed excess tension (eccentric) The muscles then “rebound” reflexively with a stronger than normal (concentric) contraction Also known as the “myotatic” or Stretch-Shortening Reflex

Plyometric Analogy: 

Plyometric Analogy Stretching a rubber band, then releasing it Bouncing Ball off of a hard surface

Equipment/Surface/Safety Concerns: 

Equipment/Surface/Safety Concerns Bodyweight is generally used The athlete should wear proper footwear Sturdy, shock-absorbent soles NEVER done barefoot! The landing surface should be forgiving, but not too spongy The surface should allow good traction – especially if performing horizontal movements Monitor the number of ground contacts It is very easy to over-do the volume

Basic Concerns: 

Basic Concerns Focus on technical proficiency over volume It does not benefit the athlete to do the movements incorrectly Improper technique makes the athlete susceptible to injury Land with a full foot placement Slightly toward the balls of the feet Not heavily on the toes or the heels Pre-Stretch the Achilles Tendon Dorsi-Flex the foot

What are some examples of Plyometric movements?: 

What are some examples of Plyometric movements? Hopping Skipping Running Jumping Up or down Horizontal Bounding “Bouncing” upper body movements “Dynamic” push-ups Medicine Ball Catch and Throw, etc.

Plyometric movements should be divided into types, based upon intensity: 

Plyometric movements should be divided into types, based upon intensity Do not confuse the level of intensity with the ability to cause fatigue One can become “tired” from skipping rope One can become “tired” from jogging However, the perception of fatigue is not always apparent after a series of maximal-effort jumps This training is neural, as well as physiological The athlete should be sufficiently rested (between workouts and between sets/reps) to allow for maximal efforts Many of the dynamics are the same as with quality sprinting

Examples of exercises, by intensity level:: 

Examples of exercises, by intensity level: Low Rope skipping Recreational game playing (hopscotch, etc.) Jogging Medium Running (sub-maximal) Bounding drills (sub-maximal) Repetitive sub-maximal sport-specific jumps Repetitive sub-maximal sport direction changes High Maximal effort competition jumping Maximal effort sprinting Maximal sport-specific direction changes Depth Jumping

Mere jumping from one spot to another is NOT Plyometric: 

Mere jumping from one spot to another is NOT Plyometric There must be an instantaneous change in direction The movements must be done quickly There must be a reflexive shortening of the muscle The rate of stretch is highly tied to the effectiveness of a Plyometric movement It is generally better to stretch the muscle faster than it is to stretch the muscle further When the degree of stretch is so great that the movement slows, it is better to: Decrease the degree of stretch until the rate improves Change the movement to place the athlete into a better position to achieve a faster stretch rate (depth, etc.) Stop the exercise and resume when the athlete is rested

NEVER do Plyometric exercises while carrying heavy loads: 

NEVER do Plyometric exercises while carrying heavy loads Generally it is preferred that bodyweight be used The focus should be on a ballistic rebound action Too much weight will slow the athlete’s response, thus negating any positive effects Light loading may be okay with advanced athletes – under highly specific conditions Weight Training Some propose doing weight training prior to plyos Some propose weight training on days when you don’t do plyos Most do not recommend weight training after plyos The fatigue imposed negates the benefit of both exercises However, that depends on YOUR results with YOUR athletes

Simple to Complex : 

Simple to Complex It is better to achieve simple technical proficiency before moving on to advanced movements It is safer for the athlete It serves no purpose for the athlete to do more of an improper movement Keep the volume low and the intensity high Youth Athletes 20 – 150 Ground Contacts Per Session Keep the reps low per set For horizontal movements Speed/Power = 50 yards or less per repetition Power/Endurance = 50 – 200 yards per repetition Monitor your athlete’s rest intervals in order to achieve the session goals

The recommended order of training should be:: 

The recommended order of training should be: Technique Speed Power/Strength Endurance (relative to the event) This is where many mistakes are made - endurance training is NOT speed training! Separate your endurance training from your Plyometric or Speed training It is acceptable to perform tempo endurance training the day after Plyometric training. More is NOT necessarily better – BETTER is Better! Focus on QUALITY over quantity

Balance the Work: 

Balance the Work Keep your Plyometric movements at an intensity consistent with the focus of the session Warm-ups and technical (learning) movements are done sub-maximally Strength/Speed Development movements are done maximally If the movement falls below a certain level re: time, distance, reps vs. time, etc. Give more rest between sets Stop the exercise and go to something else


Recovery Types Between Sets Maximal Effort = Maximal Recovery Sub-maximal effort with sub-maximal recovery = Power Endurance…there IS a place for this Between Sessions The athlete generally will need between 48-72 hours in order to recover Should perform these movements about two to three times a week Maximal efforts once or maybe twice a week, followed by a tempo session or active rest Remember – COMPETITIONS are high intensity training exercises.

Video Demonstrations: 

Video Demonstrations CrossFit Box Jump Variations Note that some of the exercises are: Strength Oriented Ability to move a load Power Oriented The movement of a load versus time Field Drill Demos Triple Jump Oriented These are best for Conditioning Coordination Technique

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