Plyometrics is a method in training that looks to bridge weight room gains to sport performance. When building a program for plyometric training, we consider the athlete’s strength demands, speed demands, and sport demands. With that in mind, plyometrics is thus defined as a category of movements meant to improve one’s overall speed-strength qualities. These drills are aimed at linking optimal strength and speed during fundamental movement patterns. They are also powerful movements utilizing the stretch-shortening cycle.
3 PRIMARY COMPONENTS OF PLYOMETRICS
Plyometric training is divided into three components—movement, direction, and initiation
Movement takes into account the motor patterns of the following training session. Based on the motor patterns, we then select what movement, a jump (Bilateral movement), a bound (unilateral movement from one limb to the other), or a hop (unilateral movement from one limb to the same limb), to complement that training session.
Direction is based on the vectors of the following training session. Will they be travelling linearly (forward and backwards), laterally (side to side), or rotationally (turning of the body).
Initiation is based on the dominant type of muscle contractions required in the following training session. It also depends on the skill level of the athlete, and their ability to utilize the ssc. Initiations range from no ssc utilization to maximal ssc utilization. From least to most use of the ssc, the initiations start with then non-countermovement, countermovement, double contact, continuous, and then your depth or drop initiations
PROGRAM DESIGN FOR PLYOMETRICS
Incorporating plyometrics into you training session can take 2 avenues. Low frequency, high volume programming would focus more on the development of one’s speed-strength qualities. Whereas, a high frequency, low volume programming of plyometrics would focus more on activations to complement a training session.
BENEFITS IN PERFORMANCE AND INJURY PREVENTION
The primary goal of plyometrics is to efficiently apply optimal force and speed into the proper direction. Secondarily, plyometrics serves as an injury prevention tool as it allows the increased tolerance to stretching loads at various speeds, loads, and directions.
Performance benefits of plyometrics
Plyometrics translates weight room gains into usable performance attribute. Through plyometrics we see increased explosive strength, improved rate of force development, increased reactive strength, greater storage and reutilization of elastic energy, improved force transfer, and minimization of energy leaks. All these improve attributes help into improving one’s overall performance
Injury prevention benefits of plyometrics
Injuries usually occur during unexpected over-lengthening of muscles/ligaments during landing or deceleration. They may also occur when the athlete lacks the motor response for a given situation. Plyometrics improve the ability to handle rapid stretch loads and supports enhanced coordination of movement during reaction and rapid change of movement
In conclusion Plyometrics bridges weight room strength gains to speed-strength qualities that lead to improved performance. The different movements, directions, initiations in plyometrics are combined based on the progression of skill competency and the training session to follow a plyometric session. Performance improvements emerge as the stretch shortening cycle is trained. The quicker the response of your SSC, the more transfer is attained for performance. Plyometrics aids in injury prevention by training one’s tolerance to muscle lengthening loads, as well as the motor skills in landing and deceleration situations.