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Is Plyometric Training Worth It?




So many people fall into the trap of just doing the same fitness routine for prolonged periods of time as people tend to stick to what they know. It’s also very common for people to have misconceptions about plyometric training and its benefits. Plyometric training is hard, but is it worth it? Let’s look into this further…

Plyometric training incorporates powerful exercises / movements that are used to increase power, endurance, stamina, speed and strength. Rather than using weights, plyometrics use explosive movements and rapid forms of force production. Some examples of plyometrics include jumping, bounding, skipping, kicking and throwing.

Here at Trilogy Physiotherapy we often hear people say they believe plyometric training is only for high level athletes and competitive lifters - this couldn’t be further from the truth! Most people can benefit from adding plyometric exercises into their training despite fitness levels, goals, desired sport and body composition. Some of the benefits of plyometrics are:

Cardiovascular Fitness


Plyometrics are an effective way to improve your cardiovascular health relatively quickly. The movements are explosive in nature which works the heart and lungs by increasing heart and respiratory rates. Over time this strengthens the heart’s ability to pump more efficiently, improves lung function and reduces your risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack.

Stronger Joints


Plyometrics are often used to prevent and treat injuries in athletes and active individuals. This is because the explosive exercises are a great way to improve tendon, ligament and bone strength. As the body adapts to absorbing the impact from the rapid movements, the soft tissues around the joints become stronger and more able to adapt quickly to changing forces. This makes the joints more stable and less likely to become injured (or re-injured if used during rehab). The loading through the bones also improves bone density as the skeleton works to improve strength to better handle the impact.

Stronger Muscles


You don’t have to constantly lift heavy weights to have strong muscles. Plyometric exercises are an excellent way to build muscular strength and definition without the weights. When doing a plyometric exercise, the muscles must contract and lengthen rapidly throughout the cycle. Have you heard of concentric and eccentric movements? Put in a very over-simplistic way, concentric is when the muscle is shortening and eccentric is when its lengthening. As the muscle quickly switches from the shortened position to the lengthened position and back again, the body must learn to recruit more muscle fibres at a much faster rate. This helps improve strength and performance in the muscles.

Improved Performance


Numerous studies show that plyometric training increases vertical jump, and horizontal jump. It improves running speed, distance and agility. Plus, it improves overall power, and allows people to lift heavier. All of these things added together plus improved stability, reduces your risk of injury. You also become more efficient due to the improved cardiovascular fitness and muscle recruitment which has a direct impact on performance. The more efficient your body is, the better. This helps you to push harder for longer before becoming fatigued. This can make all the difference if your looking to win a championship game, finish a marathon, or set a new PB (personal best) at the gym. Whatever your goals, plyometric training can help you perform better to reach them faster.


Since plyometric training doesn’t require weights, the exercises can often be performed without a gym. This comes in very handy when travelling! Some exercises such as burpees, clapping push-ups, mountain climbers and squat jumps can be done pretty much anywhere with no equipment at all. Other exercises such as skipping and bounding drills need a bit of space but not a lot of equipment. You can even get creative with your exercise equipment as long as it's safe (think jumping on and off the bottom step of solid stairs at a park or jumping over a small log—just make sure its SAFE before getting creative!!). And if you have access to a gym you can have a go at various types of box jumps, muscle ups or broad jumps. The possibilities are endless!



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Plyometrics are easily scalable and can fit into just about anyone’s fitness routine. If you’re an extreme athlete you could perhaps try doing box jumps with a weighted vest. If you’re of moderate fitness do standard box jumps; average fitness do small box jumps; low fitness do star jumps or quick toe taps.


Seriously there are SO many options for plyometrics there’s very little excuse for people to not at least try them!


If you’re new to plyometric training it is recommended that you start your plyometric journey with the help of a professional. Here at Trilogy Physiotherapy our Physiotherapists are very well trained at programming plyometric training for individuals regardless of their fitness goals. If you are struggling to get back to training or sport after an injury, our physiotherapists can show you how to incorporate plyometrics into your rehab. Or perhaps you want to prevent injuries from occurring in the first place — our physios can help with that as well! Or maybe you just want to learn more about the benefits of plyometric training and want to know where you should start — that’s something we can help with, too! So regardless of where you are in your plyometric journey, know that our highly educated physios are here to help. BOOK NOW to find out how we can help you change up your exercise routine to start safely enjoying the benefits listed above!




Read more....


To learn more about measuring exercise intensity, check out our blog HERE

To learn more about returning to exercise after injury, check out our blog HERE

To learn more about preventative rehab, check our our blog HERE



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Disclaimer: It is recommended to consult a professional before implementing changes to your regular movement or undergoing a new exercise routine. Any advice given by Trilogy Physiotherapy is done so in good faith that our readers have sought approval from a professional before undertaking activity. The information above is not meant to replace personalised professional advice.




References:


de Villarreal, E. S., Kellis, E., Kraemer, W. J., & Izquierdo, M. (2009). Determining variables of plyometric training for improving vertical jump height performance: a meta-analysis. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 23(2), 495–506. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e318196b7c6


Makhlouf, I., Chaouachi, A., Chaouachi, M., Ben Othman, A., Granacher, U., & Behm, D. G. (2018). Combination of Agility and Plyometric Training Provides Similar Training Benefits as Combined Balance and Plyometric Training in Young Soccer Players. Frontiers in physiology, 9, 1611. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2018.01611


Sáez de Villarreal, E., Requena, B., & Cronin, J. B. (2012). The effects of plyometric training on sprint performance: a meta-analysis. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 26(2), 575–584. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e318220fd03



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