What is Plyometric Training: Definition and Exercise

Many 8fit workouts incorporate intense, explosive plyometric movements. The short, sweet explanation for plyometrics goes as follows:

Plyometrics 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.

Now, for some more details.

Plyometrics definition

Plyometrics — plyos for short — is a type of exercise that trains muscles to produce power (strength + speed). Plyometric exercises involve a stretch of the muscles, immediately followed by a contraction of the same muscles — which is why it’s sometimes referred to as “jump training.”

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. Picture a sprinter taking off at the starting line, or an Olympic long jumper jumping from stillness, they both need explosive power to do what they do. Plyometrics is an important component of most professional sports performance training as it focuses on the “speed” component of power.

What are plyometric exercises

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.

workout female hiit plyometrics training squat

If you go to the gym, you probably noticed a few wooden boxes or metal platforms stacked beside other sports equipment. Plyometrics exercises often use these types of props to jump on and down from to promote a greater extension of muscle fibers.

Tip
If you don’t have a solid box at home, you can use a stair, a concrete sidewalk, or any solid and stable surface you can jump on.

Benefits of plyometric training

Smart plyometric training will improve your speed and power, all while improving your coordination and agility too. With a smart and specific training plan, you can get faster when you sprint, jump higher during basketball games, change directions quickly on the soccer field or return tennis serves every time.

Must-knows and safety tips

With that being said, plyometrics are a very high-intensity form of training that, yes, promotes speed and power, but also can lead to a greater risk of injuries. Plyometric exercises need to be executed with proper form, always respecting your body’s limits. Before adding the “jumping” and “explosiveness” component to the movement, first focus on perfecting squats before doing squat jumps onto a box or platform.

After perfecting the movements and adding the jumping, regular plyometric training with rest days in between will help maintain bone and joint health. Start slowly with two or three sessions per week with 24-48 hours in between.

For more high-intensity workouts, sign up for 8fit.