Leap into plyometric training
In honor of Leap Day, I thought we should explore the world of plyometric training. The most common plyometric exercises include hops, jumps and bounding movements. These exercises typically increase speed and strength, and build power. Plyometric training involves high-intensity, explosive muscular contractions that invoke the stretch reflex (stretching the muscle before it contracts so that it contracts with greater force).
One popular plyometric exercise is jumping off a box and rebounding off the floor and onto another, higher box. These exercises typically increase speed and strength and build power.
Plyometric exercises are high-intensity training techniques used to develop athletic power. Sport-specific programs utilize these exercises that enhance the muscular actions of the sport. And I feel, more importantly, they just make your body “tough.”
During last fall’s ski-conditioning camp, we utilized plyometrics. We simulated moguls by jumping side to side over a small block with both feet. I always reminded my students to bend their knees upon landing and have the legs become shock absorbers.
The most important aspect of a safe and effective plyometric program is developing a safe landing technique. This means the athlete lands softly on the toes and rolls to the heels. By using the whole foot (and a larger surface area) for landing, it helps dissipate the impact forces on the joints. The other key to proper landing is to avoid any twisting or sideways motion at the knee.
— Plyometrics are recommended only for well-conditioned athletes.
— You should have high levels of leg strength before performing plyometrics.
— Warm up thoroughly before starting plyometrics.
— Start slowly with small jumps and gradually build up.
— Land softly to absorb shock.
— Allow plenty of rest between plyometric workouts.
— Stop immediately if you feel any pain in your joints.
— Use footwear with plenty of cushioning.
— Perform plyometrics on soft or cushioned surfaces only.
As with any physical activity, a strong core, good balance and perfect posture will ensure success.
Every athlete out there should consider complementing their training program with a Pilates workout two to three times per week. That will make you tough.
Want to take your game to the next level? Any one of the fine personal trainers at Sierra Athletic Club can develop a safe, effective, sport-specific plyometric training program for you. Call (530) 542-4426 for more info.
” Rhonda Beckham is a nationally certified personal trainer with teaching certificates in Pilates and kickboxing.
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