Hey CAMPers, I know it’s been quite some time since I have posted. The past few weeks have been crazy with expansion projects and the IHRSA show in Los Angeles. Poor excuse I know, but here is an intro to plyometrics that will give you a base knowledge for content in the weeks to come.
Plyometric is a term that has only been around since 1975. Before that it was known as “jump training” and didn’t become popular until the early 1970’s. Around this time the Eastern bloc countries of Europe were producing exceptional athletes in track and field that caused other countries to take great interest in their style of training. The term plyometric doesn’t mean jump training, but actually “measurable increases,” and has become popular thinking among track and field, volleyball, football, and weightlifting coaches that it is the link between speed and strength. In most sports successful athletes do not just win on speed or strength, but rather their ability to use both components together and create power, power = speed + strength.
The purpose of plyometrics is to allow the muscle to its maximum strength in the shortest amount of time possible. This is where you develop the element of power. Without going into too much detail about the different types of muscle contractions, I will just touch on the three. Eccentric contractions occur when the muscle is lengthening, and being used for deceleration. Isometric contractions occur when the muscle is neither lengthening nor shortening. A concentric contraction is when the muscle is shortening. I’ll use the hamstring in a squat as an easy example. When you begin to descend to your squat you have begun the eccentric contraction, the pause before you stand back up is an isometric, and as you begin to stand you are going through a concentric contraction.
Plyometric aren’t used to just train the response time of your muscles, but the strength of the response as well. The greater the concentric contraction, the more forceful the movement will be. This movement obviously directly relates to running and jumping, but also when applying force to an external object such as an opponent.
There are many different plyometric drills that are beneficial to all athletes, but as the athlete becomes more advanced, it is important for the drills to apply to the sport and position. Basic drills include marching, jogging, and skipping. More advanced drills include depth jumps, bounding, and standing jumps.
This article is aimed to help you understand the importance of incorporating plyometric into your training program. In the weeks to come I will be more detailed on sport specific drills that are easy and effective.Sean England General Manager / Performance Specialist CAMP, Building Better Athletes LLC