How Can It Help Your Goals?
What is Plyometric Training?
Everything You Need To Know
Not just for athletes
Physically training and keeping a body alert and healthy is practically mandatory for any individual who wants to excel at their chosen sport.
There are many different types of training programs, and depending on the sport that an individual competes in, his or her choice of training methods will play a crucial part in their success.
A training change-up
People turn to plyometric training for not only something different but for a training method that has been proven to be effective and can be fun too.
One of the best things about plyometrics is that it's effective without being difficult unlike more intense training such as heavy weight lifting or interval sprinting. Indeed, most people can partake in plyo training with little-to-no risk and still attain considerable results.
Plyos, Plyo, & Plyometrics
What is plyo training?
Many of today's successful athletes use what is known as Plyometric training.
Some people simply call it plyos or even plyo. There's a pretty good chance you've heard it by one of those names before, but if not, maybe by its original moniker.
The beginnings of plyometric exercise
Before this method of training received its name, it was commonly known as jump training.
In the early days of plyometrics training, many athletes noticed the benefits of this type of training as they were able to stretch out muscles before contracting them whenever they would land following a jump.
Although athletes of various sports practice plyos, certain plyometrics exercises will most definitely benefit those in particular sports more than others.
Popularity in the biohacking community
Personally, this author knows many biohackers that love plyometric training for the benefits it bestows upon the practitioner including a fast track to many mobility goals.
We'll take a look at many of those plyo benefits further down but for now, let's focus on what is plyometric training...
Who Uses Plyometrics?
The Athletes Choice
Plyometrics training is very useful for body control. High jumpers, sprinters, biohackers, and those that practice martial arts commonly use plyometrics exercises.
As a long-time practitioner of karate, this author can attest to the usefulness of this type of training for both form and function improvement.
Basketball, football, and soccer players have many things in common. They will all need to reach out for the ball, jump over another player, and may suddenly have to jump from a still-standing position.
Studies show that plyometric training can assist with performance within several parameters (1)
All of this requires superb body control that will allow them to land safely on their feet. Athletes need to complete their tasks in the game even while sometimes making rough physical contact with another player.
This is when plyometrics training comes in handy for these players.
Overall athletic improvements
Other benefits that an athlete may reap from plyometrics training are power, speed, strength, and outright explosiveness.
While exhibiting jumping movements, muscle groups are trained to work together all at once. With the body working together as one unit, disciplined body control is eventually learned.
This could possibly lead an athlete to success and overall better performance.
The Power Of Plyo
Improving With Plyos
Jump to it
Although there are many different types of plyometrics exercises, some of the most widely used are front box jumps, broad jumps, and skater jumps.
Front box jumps are commonly used due to their effectiveness in improving an individual's vertical jump.
Think for a moment about how many sports require a high vertical jump.
Basketball is the first sport that comes to mind when thinking about the benefit of having a high vertical jump.
There are of course many other sports where a high vertical jump can be beneficial.
Muscle tone and strength improvements
Strengthening the quadriceps and glute muscles are important and play a big role in improving a person's vertical jumping ability, and there is no other exercise that will strengthen these muscles as much as front box jumps.
This exercise is often (not always) performed from a squatting position which means a large portion of the leg's entire muscle grouping will come into play here, recruiting many explosive muscle fibers. (2)
Once in position, an individual will then explode upwards while using their entire body and land on the plyo box. This is a repetitive exercise that could theoretically have many benefits for an athlete.
Plyometrics can be used as part of an interval training workout or mixed in with other exercises for a multipurpose training session.
Plyometric Training Examples
Popular Plyometric Exercises
Biohacking Your Fitness
If you're looking for some examples of plyometric training, then this is for you. There are quite a few variations of plyo which can be used. For beginners, it's probably best to start off simple and work towards the exercises that might seem a little more daunting.
One of the most exciting facets of plyometric training is how it can affect your entire life by increasing flexibility and mobility. Both are things that seem to really help motivate people to continue their training growth.
Once people realized that this form of training is not just helpful for athletes, but can improve the health, fitness, and flexibility of those who partake in plyometrics, it's fast become the "new yoga" for widespread popularity.
The good news is, it's not just for a few Californian hipsters - Plyo is for almost everyone and training can be tailored to every age and ability level.
Let's look at some popular plyometric training exercises that are employed by athletes:
The Broad Jump
Broad jumps, which are sometimes called standing long jumps, are used by athletes in many sports.
Track and field athletes, football players, and other athletes will all benefit from broad jumps as this exercise will put on massive strength in the legs while giving an individual explosive power.
The beauty of the standing long jump
No matter what sport a person is involved in, broad jumps will positively impact an athlete's overall performance.
When an athlete has an ultimate goal to build massive leg strength, broad jumps will definitely give him or her the results that they desire.
A reason for this is that with broad jumps there is never a first step or running start. You will have to position yourself into a squat and thrust yourself forward.
It's definitely an exercise that beginners can find themselves progressing fast which can be incredibly motivating.
Before you know it, you will find yourself improving and going further.
Not Just For Skating
Performing skater jumps
Skater jumps are called skater jumps for a reason as it mimics the moves of a speed skater.
To do this exercise, an individual will begin with their right leg in front and their left leg behind them.
They will explode to their left, land on the left foot, and bend their knee when landing.
Mimicking the speed skater
This skating-like exercise can be done the other way around also starting with the left leg in front of their right leg depending on preference with importance being placed upon equal work performed by both sides of the body.
Skater jumps are very beneficial for an individual to train themselves to move quicker. Watching and mimicking ice skaters is a great way to improve form and technique for this exercise.
Side to side
This plyometric exercise utilizes one or more hurdles in order to build lateral power.
Hurdle jumps increase hip power and flexibility while increasing balance and peripheral adaptation.
Performing hurdle jumps
This exercise is performed by standing side adjacent to the hurdle and using a mixture of pushing with the quads to gain explosive jumping and using the levers of your arms to swing upwards for more power.
This exercise need not be done with high hurdles and can be initially controlled by using an obstacle only a few inches off the ground.
Everybody starts from the bottom and this exercise is no different. As your ability increases, the height of the hurdle can be increased to satisfy your goals.
Sometimes plyometric hurdling can be performed by jumping several hurdles in a side-to-side motion.
So, instead of traditional running and jumping headlong, the plyo version would be jumping sideways with a side skip to the next hurdle and then jumping that and repeating the process.
The Wall Push
Not Just Jumping
Changing it up
It can appear as though the majority of plyometric exercises involve some form of jumping and while it is true that jumps account for a large proportion of plyometric exercises, there are quite a few that start with the upper body.
This exercise sounds very much like what it is, so, it's fairly simple to explain and to learn.
Leaning frontwards towards a wall with all your weight on your two hands with your body tilted forward, the goal is to push off the wall with explosive power and let gravity move you back to the wall where you can continue the exercise in the appropriate amount of repetitions for your skill level.
Some advanced plyo enthusiasts perform floor pushes as a more difficult alternative and others who seek even further resistance add some form of weight, harnessed to their body for even more difficulty.
A great alternative
Wall pushing is an excellent option for those wishing to get more plyometric upper body training into their workout regimen. It's also useful for people for whom lower body injuries are a concern or limitation.
Many plyo trainers like to mix things up by adding wall pushing into alternating day training so that the quads, and glutes get some rest.
A large part of biohacking training revolves around optimal rest, stretching, and muscular stimulation, always searching for the Goldilocks formula (the amount that's "just right").
No box needed
There are many plyometric exercises that can be executed with any additional equipment and tuck jumps are one of those.
Tuck jumps can be done anywhere and require very little space which is great for those living in space-restricted big city areas.
Box jumps without the box
Much like a box jump where you jump up swinging your arms up and exploding from your quads and hips, tuck jumps start with the same actions but instead of landing on a box, the key is to tuck the knees high towards or touching the chest at the maximum height and then untuck for a clean landing.
An exercise in true fitness
Unlike some of the easier plyometrics, tuck jumps are considerably harder and require some degree of fitness to perform correctly. (3)
Mastering jumping and landing is important to ensure the safe implementation of this beneficial exercise but when it's done correctly and with perfect form, tuck jumping can be extremely useful for building fitness levels.
One of the real keys to a successful tuck jump is... The tuck. I know, who'd have thought it, right? Making sure the knees are tucked up against the chest really does improve the effectiveness of this wonderful exercise.
A slight misnomer
Okay, so, the mental picture of a depth jump probably conjures ideas of jumping into a deep hole and then jumping on out of it. That's not really what depth jumping is all about, if anything the crux of the exercise is fast landing.
How to perform a depth jump
Depth jumping requires one or more boxes in order to implement correctly. The jumper starts off on a box and then proceeds to jump off and upon landing bounces straight back onto the box.
The focus here is on minimizing the landing time and jumping back onto the box as fast as possible.
If any of it is confusing, just think of the game "the floor is lava". You get the gist?
Using multiple boxes
if a jumper is fortunate enough to be in possession of several boxes, they can jump from box to ground and onto a different box repeating this series of actions in a circuit.
It can be useful for incorporating slightly more muscle activity but if multiple boxes are not available, not to worry; a single box is perfectly adequate and functional for depth jumps.
This exercise is slightly more advanced when jumping between boxes and the safety of footwear and the boxes themselves are of paramount importance.
Other Effective Plyos
There are more types of plyo than the most popular examples listed above.
Plyometrics exercises that are commonly used by athletes include bounding jumps, tuck jumps, cone jumps, split jumps, and even single-leg takeoffs.
There are literally hundreds of plyometric exercises and variations.
Every different plyometrics exercise has its advantages
For example, the box jump, which was elaborated on earlier, is terrific for vertical jumping and to help an individual to run faster.
Those looking to jump higher will surely want to focus on box jumps, but depth jumps are also just as important.
No matter what exercise somebody is concentrating on, plyometrics exercises will train an individual to be ready and prepare for another take-off immediately following their initial landing.
Alternating upper/lower body
For some people, plyometrics is their entire training schedule because they enjoy it so much and find it particularly functional. As mentioned above, wall pushes are a great exercise for those who seek to boost upper body strength and flexibility.
Why Choose Plyometrics?
What's The Plyo Appeal
The Right Exercise For You
Fun and function training
No matter how gifted an athlete is at their job, plyometrics will help them become better all-around athletes.
These exercises will keep a person strong, alert and powerful while maintaining full body control.
Plyometrics training is an important part of professional athletes' training regimen, and by combining strength and fitness an individual will always be able to perform to their fullest abilities.
For the beginner
One of the great things about plyometrics for beginners is that once they've learned the exercises they wish to implement, there's very little equipment needed,
Plyo training can be done at the gym or with friends and training partners. Or, you can do it alone, at home or in the park. There are many options available.
As your ability improves, there are options to go longer, higher, and faster, so, there's never a lack of motivation.
Most sedentary folk who try plyometric training notice some of the proven benefits and quite quickly, too.
Benefits Of Plyo
Building towards something
Not everyone who partakes in plyometrics is a world-class athlete nor do they need to be. Almost anyone can enjoy the benefits of using plyo training in their exercise regimen.
There have been many benefits of plyometrics studied with a pretty substantial amount of research showing beneficial outcomes.
Benefits of plyometric training may include:
Individuals with shoulder injuries may benefit from increased recovery times with plyometric training shown to improve recovery in those with shoulder injuries and post-operative impairments. (4) (5)
Plyo exercises can help increase strength and power due to the sometimes explosive nature of the exercises with measurable increases in muscular tissue activation and potential for beneficial hypertrophy. (6)
Exercise can help you to reduce your stress levels and improve your mood. Lifestyles that involve regular training are shown to be less stressful and more fulfilling.
Proprioception and coordination
Box training requires focus and determination - It also employs a significant amount of neural excitation and activation. Plyometrics have been shown to provide positive increases in both coordination and proprioception which have many benefits outside of fitness. (7)
Due to the ballistic nature of some plyo training, several muscle groups that assist in sprint speed are activated regularly. Some plyometrics can be helpful for developing faster running, kicking, punching, and evasive movements.
When combined with well-proportioned dietary fats, proteins, and carbs, exercises such as plyo can lead to weight loss and potential muscle gain.
Exercise has been shown to benefit rest and sleep. For anyone looking to improve sleep quality, exercises such as plyos are an excellent way to help.
Much plyometric training involves wide ranges of motion, incorporating large movements and testing muscular capabilities. Many individuals who train using plyo can expect to see results that include an increase in flexibility.
Many of the box-related plyos require some degree of balance and with greater exposure to these types of exercises, a considerable increase in balance is not at all unexpected.
Is Plyometric Training Safe?
Staying safe with plyo
Those that begin a plyometrics training program will always want to make sure that they prioritize safety.
Just like any other workout program, starting with a beginner's program is always best.
Many times, athletes feel that they can start with an advanced plyometrics training program. This is not wise as it can lead to injuries.
A beginner's plyometric training program should be used, and then as an individual progresses they can move on to an advanced program that will require more strength.
No matter what exercise you do, there's always a risk of injury and plyometric training is no different.
It's important to work your way up to greater challengers rather than attempting to break records and impress your friends without adequate preparation.
One of the most frequently occurring injuries seen in plyometric training is ankle issues, especially on box jumps. This can be the result of poor form, inappropriate footwear, or even overconfidence.
This isn't to say that injuries are common but of the ones that occur, ankle strains and sprains are probably the most common
Whilst torn muscles are not a common injury, the failure to warm up properly or overexertion too early on can lead to muscle-related injuries.
Torn muscles can take quite some time to recover from, so, it's best not to let excess motivation and confidence cloud sensible form.
Although plyometric training can help to strengthen tendons and improve flexibility, constant landing can be an issue, especially with higher jumps.
Footwear that cushions well is a must as well as an appropriate landing mat which in tandem can help to mitigate a lot of the impact that can occur from plyo jumps.
What Have We Learned?
All Things Plyo
There are many exercises you can choose from weight training, sprints, yoga, sports, and a whole lot more. What plyometrics offer is a form of training that can assist in the skills required to perform all the aforementioned activities better but can also be a perfectly sound exercise in and of itself.
There are very few exercises that can be performed anywhere but many of the best plyos can be done alone with little room needed. Tuck jumps are a perfect example of a powerful exercise that requires no equipment at all.
Safety is paramount
As with any form of training, it's important to practice safety. Preventing injury is a heck of a lot more manageable than dealing with injurious outcomes.
What Is Plyometric Training?
The final verdict
There we have it. A detailed description of all the plyo-related exercises and activities. It seems as though there really are many positive benefits to be procured from engaging in this fun, and exciting training style.
When performed correctly, plyometric training might be one of the best forms of exercise you could ever wish to partake in.
Things to remember
Good shoes are a must for any exercise that involves mobility but in the case of plyos where there might be jumping involved, it would be prudent to obtain footwear that is right for the job.
The last word
If you're looking to start plyometric training after reading this article, it'd be great if you could comment in the section below or on social media and keep us informed of your progress.
Everything positive you do could inspire someone else.
Thank you for reading what is plyometric training?
The information contained in this article is offered for informational purposes only. This information is not intended for the purpose of diagnosing or treating ailments and should you wish to seek such advice, please contact an appropriate medical professional.
What Is Plyometric Training?
How Can It Help Your Goals
By AJ James
Biohacker & Founder
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