what is plyometrics?

before we begin describing what plyometrics is, we need to talk about two subjects:
what are muscle spindles and golgi tendon organs?
muscle spindles protects you from overstretching or stretching too fast, on the opposite, golgi tendon organs protects you from over contracting or shortening too fast.
When you stretch and feel the nerve that you are at the furthest point of your stretch, muscle spindle is sending a reflex arc signal to your spinal column telling you not to stretch any further. on the other side, when you try to shorten a muscle too much, your golgi tendon organs send a pain signal to stop you from contracting too much.
muscle spindles and golgi tendon organs are both classified as proprioceptors.
what are proprioceptors?
Proprioception, also referred to as kinaesthesia, is the sense of self-movement and body position. It is sometimes described as the sixth sense. a proprioceptor is a sensory receptor which receives stimuli from within the body, especially one that responds to position and movement.

what is plyometrics?

Plyometrics is interchangeably termed reactive training. From this perspective, it is essentially about how the body interacts with ground surfaces. Plyometrics(also called plyos) is a form of intense training that involves the use of a stretch and contraction sequence of muscle fibers to generate great strength at a high speed. With this type of training session, you will improve your overall power and explosiveness. it is a type of exercise training that uses speed and force of different movements to build muscle power. Plyometrics training can improve your physical performance and ability to do different activities.
plyometrics Enhance Stretch Reflex (Muscle Spindle/greater contraction) and can also help with improving golgi tendon organ’s pain and tolerance.
Plyometric exercises are powerful aerobic exercises used to increase your speed, endurance, and strength. They require you to exert your muscles to their maximum potential in short periods of time.
Plyometrics is based on the understanding that a concentric muscular contraction is much stronger if it immediately follows an eccentric contraction of the same muscle.
The maximum force that a muscle can develop is attained during a rapid eccentric contraction. However, it should be realised that muscles seldom perform one type of contraction in isolation during athletic movements. When a concentric contraction occurs (muscle shortens) immediately following an eccentric contraction (muscle lengthens), then the force generated can be dramatically increased.
If a muscle is stretched, much of the energy required to stretch it is lost as heat, but the muscle’s elastic components can store some of this energy. This stored energy is available to the muscle only during a subsequent contraction. It is essential to realise that this energy boost is lost if the eccentric contraction is not followed immediately by a concentric contraction. To express this greater force, the muscle must contract within the shortest time possible. This process is frequently called the stretch-shortening cycle and is the underlying mechanism of plyometric training.
Plyometric exercises include vertical and broad jumps, where you jump as high and/or as far as possible. Skipping rope, jumping squats, single leg hopping and clapping push-ups are also great examples of plyometric exercises.
though all plyometric training is considered power training, not all power training is plyometric training. Plyometric training is often interchangeable with power training. However, as some traditionally use plyometric training to define a specific movement pattern in which three distinct phases of movement occur rapidly.
While strength training mostly creates nervous system and muscular adaptations to get stronger, plyometric exercises will help improve explosiveness(our ability to generate maximum force in a minimum time).
also keep in mind that Power Lifting is a sport and often confused with power/explosive training. To clarify, it is a misnomer as its primary focus is strength enhancement and development and traditionally does the bulk of training with heavy, slow lifts. Plyometrics is built upon various scientific principles (stretch-shortening cycle, optimizing sarcomere length, and stretch reflexes) that can help individuals tremendously boost their power output.
A thorough warm-up is essential before plyometric training. Attention should be given to jogging, stretching (dynamic), striding and general mobility, especially about the joints involved in the planned plyometric session. A cool-down should follow each session.
Allow at least one minute of rest between each exercise repetition to allow the neuromuscular system to recover. Allow three days between plyometrics sessions when planning.

what are plyometric phases?

Eccentric phase, or landing phase, involves the pre-loading (energy is stored) of the agonist muscle group.
During the eccentric component, the muscle is pre-stretched, storing potential energy in its elastic elements. The eccentric phase can be referred to as deceleration, absorption, loading, yielding, or the cocking phase.
When basketball players bend their knees and lower their arms before a rebound shot or when a baseball player pulls his arm back before a throw to first base are both examples of the eccentric component.
Amortization phase, or transition phase, is the time between the concentric and eccentric phases. This time needs to be as short as possible otherwise the energy stored during the eccentric phase dissipates, reducing the plyometric effect
The amortization component is a time of dynamic stabilization during which the muscle transitions from overcoming the acceleration of gravity and loading the energy to releasing it. If this segment lasts too long, the potential elastic energy can be lost.
Concentric phase, or take-off phase, uses the stored energy to increase the force of the movement. Unloading the elastic energy occurs next in the concentric phase, which adds to the tension generated in a concentric muscle contraction. This is where the athlete releases the stored and redirected energy, jumping for the basket or slinging the ball to first base.
Plyometric training takes advantage of a rapid cyclical muscle action(stretch-shortening cycle or SSC) whereby the muscle undergoes an eccentric contraction, followed by a transitional period prior to the concentric contraction.

plyometric health benefits

Regular participation in a plyometric training program may help strengthen bone and facilitate weight control in children.
Plyometric training is primarily used by strength and conditioning coaches to enhance human neuromuscular function and improve the performances of both explosive and endurance-based athletes.
Plyometrics tone the entire body, burn calories, and improve cardiovascular health. Plyometric training also boost your stamina and metabolism.
Research shows that the powerful and fast movements in plyo training can boost the neuromuscular system because it encourages quick and powerful muscular contractions. It is among the best ways to increase jumping power.
as mentioned plyometric training will improve your speed and power. it is all while improving your coordination and agility too(Rapid eccentric movement followed by immediate concentric contraction enhances power output 10-15%).

is plyometrics safe?

Historically, much of the research done strictly on plyometric training and outcomes has been done to exclude other training modes (i.e., strength training). Thus much of the recommendations based on research have often been higher in volume as it has not factored in other mixed modes of training.
Most experts state that a thorough grounding in weight training is essential before starting plyometrics. It has been suggested that an athlete be able to squat twice their body weight before attempting depth jumps. However, less intensive plyometric exercises can be incorporated into a general circuit and weight training during the early stages of training to condition the athlete progressively. Simple plyometric drills such as skipping, hopping and bounding should be introduced first.
Plyometric exercises need to be executed with proper form, always respecting your body’s limits. Plyometric exercises can cause stress to the tendons, ligaments, and lower-extremity joints, especially the knees and ankles. It’s important that you have the strength and fitness level necessary to do these exercises safely and effectively.
Plyometric activities require athletes to produce high levels of force during very fast movements. They also demand the athletes to produce this force during very short timeframes. Perhaps the best example of this is sprinting. Maximal speed sprinting demands that the athlete moves their body and limbs at the very pinnacle of their ability – making it an extremely fast movement.
Make sure you have the strength, flexibility, and mobility to perform these exercises, especially in your ankles, knees, and hips. Core, lower back, and leg strength are also important. Many plyometric exercises are full-body exercises. They help tone the body by engaging lots of different muscles. Connective tissue is strengthened and you can increase resiliency and elasticity.
Because plyometrics is high-impact and intense exercise, check with your doctor first if you aren’t active now or if you have any health problems.
keep in mind that plyometric training for children is much different than that of mature athletes. Young bodies do not have the bone strength or muscular development to perform exercises such as deep jumps and squats.
If you have heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, the doctor may recommend a lower-intensity type of exercise that’s more aerobic.
If you have diabetes, you may need to make some changes to your diabetes treatment plan, based on how many calories you are burning. Plyometrics isn’t for you if you have any diabetes-related nerve damage, as this will make you more likely to get injured.
Do you have arthritis or other bone or joint problems? Plyometrics isn’t a good choice for you. Look for a workout that can help strengthen your muscles without stressing your joints.
and of course, Plyometrics isn’t for you if you’re pregnant. Your belly’s growing size will throw off your balance. You could fall or get injured. The weight of your growing baby stresses your knees and ankles, and jumping adds even more stress. Ligaments that help stabilize your joints grow a little more lax during pregnancy, making injuries more likely.