Plyometric training can be incorporated into any workout, it is often found in abundance in fitness classes and within home workouts because it can be done without any equipment.
What is it?
Plyometric or otherwise known as Plyo training consists of exercises where the muscles exert maximal force in short periods of time, with the goal of increasing power (speed-strength). The exercises involve actions such as jumping, hopping, bounding and skipping.
Advantages of plyometric training:
Plyometric training can improve your: speed, strength, power, change of direction, balance, jumping and bone density while helping with weight loss.
Power and speedimprovements is what plyometric training was originally designed for, however, it is now widely used due to the multiple benefits it has.
Plyometric training can also help facilitate weight loss, it requires a lot of energy because it’s high intensity, it gets your heart rate up while using and activating most muscle groups – therefore burning lots of calories in a session.
This form of training is great for building overall strengthof the upper and lower body from landing on your muscles with force. This combination of cardio exercise and strength exercise is brilliant forfat loss and toning.
It is therefore a great aspect of fitness to add into your workout, however the question is does all this jumping, hopping and bounding increase the risk of injury or do the benefits outweigh the costs?
Disadvantages of plyometric training:
Unfortunately Plyometric training does have a high risk of injury, the repetitive and high impact nature of the jumping and bounding can cause stress on the joints, a little more than other forms of lower impact training such as resistance training. If you have any sort of pre-existing injury that is aggravated with repetitive strain, arthritis or joint issues I would recommend sticking to a lower impact form of training.
If you haven’t trained much recently or are new to training the risk of straining a muscle or injuring a joint may be higher with plyometric training because the muscles surrounding the joints are weaker and may not support the joints as well as when you have strengthened them from regular training.
What should you do?
Don’t be scared of it!
If you are new to exercise, have joint issues or other injuries I would stay away from plyometric exercises.
If you train regularly then I would incorporate some of these exercises into your training sessions maybe once or twice a week. Don’t go overboard but 3 sets of a few plyometric exercises back to back, will give you the benefits (improvement in speed, power, bone density, balance, strength and help with weight loss) without putting too much strain on your joints and surrounding muscles and tendons. If you start to feel a niggle, taper it down. Just be mindful that although the benefits are great, it does come with slightly higher risk than normal exercises.
The biggest mistake people make with plyometric training is too much volume. Start low and build up, listen to your body and joints. A great start is with a skipping rope!
Examples of plyometric training exercises:
This list is not exhaustive but these are a few exercises that I use quite often.
Lateral box jump
Single leg side to side hop
Medicine ball chest press throw or over head throws
Clapping push ups
Plyometric pull ups
Half kneeling side toss
Depth push up
As always fire away with any questions you may have, and please pass this onto someone that may find it useful!