What Is It?
Originally the word “plyometric” comes from two Greek words, plio, meaning “more” and metric, meaning “to measure”, or more accurately “measurable increase.”
The Eastern Europeans first used Plyometrics in the 1970s to develop greater strength and power in their Olympic athletes. They based their programs on scientific evidence that stretching muscles prior to contracting them recruits the “myotactic” or stretch reflex of muscle (stretching the muscle before it contracts so that it contracts with greater force)to enhance the power of contraction. This pre-stretching of muscles occurs when you perform jumps one after the other.
Plyometric exercises are specialized, high intensity training techniques used to develop power, strength and speed. In other words, it’s an exercise that allows muscles to exert maximum force in the shortest amount of time possible.
Plyometric training is not merely doing a movement fast, but also at max effort. An increase in power can come one of three ways
1) Increase movement speed while maintaining strength.
2) Increase strength while maintaining movement speed, or
3) Increase speed and strength simultaneously.
The most common plyometric exercises include hops, jumps and bounding movements.
Why Is Plyometric Excercise Good For Me?
Plyometric Exercise has been shown to have benefits for reducing lower-extremity injuries in team sports while combined with improvements in other neuromuscular training areas i.e. strength training, balance training, and stretching.
Is Plyometric Exercise Safe?
Plyometric Exercise is not inherently dangerous, but the highly focused, intense movements used in repetition increase the potential level of stress on joints and musculo-tendonous units. Therefore safety precautions are a strong prerequisite to this particular method of exercise and should only be performed by well-conditioned individuals (that is you) who are under supervision (that is us). Good levels of of physical strength, flexibility, and proprioception should be achieved before commencement of plyometric training.
Low-intensity variations of Plyometric Exercises are frequently utilized in various stages of injury rehabilitation, indicating that the application of proper technique and appropriate safety precautions can make Plyometric Exercise safe and effective for most people.