Should I include plyometrics in my weekly workouts? Depending on what your goals are, you might have to.
Plyometrics, also known as ‘jump training,’ is a form of exercise that has been used develop greater physical power and sports performance by enhancing muscle strength, speed and agility. Usually, plyometric exercises are body-weight movements that emphasize the strength-shortening cycle (SSC).
With the purpose of explaining what the SSC is, you need to understand the various ways that your muscles can contract. Your muscles are capable of four contractions: isometric, isotonic, concentric and eccentric. For this blog, we’ll focus on the concentric and the eccentric contractions.
Simply put, a concentric contraction takes place when the muscle is shortened, much like a bicep curl, while an eccentric contraction takes place when the muscle is lengthened, like lowering the dumbbell to perform a bicep curl. The transition of going from a rapid eccentric to a concentric muscle contraction is known as the strength-shortening cycle. When engaging in a plyometric exercise, such as a jump squat, your muscles experience both types of contractions.
The SSC is the main reason why plyometric training is effective at increasing power and strength, for it takes advantage of the elastic properties in connective tissue and muscle fibers.
Do plyometric exercises burn more fat?
Plyometric exercises tend to have an effect similar to interval training. Depending on how it’s performed, your body can burn through your ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and glycogen, thus using fat as its primary fuel.
“Because power training is so physically demanding, it requires so many more calories for your body to get back to homeostasis. And that’s why it produces a huge fat-burning effect.” – Tom Seabourne, PhD
Plyometric training risks
It’s very important to know how to perform plyometric exercises properly since this type of training tends to put the athlete at a greater risk of injury. For starters, I highly suggest for you to know how to land correctly before trying a plyometric workout session. Also, seek out a trainer or professional to demonstrate for you. I’ve included a resource that might help.
Like previously stated, plyometrics aren’t for everyone. They’re effective at developing greater physical power and sports performance by enhancing muscle strength, speed and agility. However, such exercises can be dangerous if not performed correctly.
Personally, I do plyo every other day. It’s one of my favorite workouts, so if you feel like trying it, I think you’d love it. Let me know how it goes!
*Please note: featured image was found on Google, traced back to www.topstretch.com
McNeely, Ed. “Introduction to plyometrics: Converting strength to power.” NSCA’s performance training journal 6, no. 5 (2005): 19-22.
Slimani, Maamer, Karim Chamari, Bianca Miarka, Fabricio B. Del Vecchio, and Foued Chéour. 2016. “Effects of Plyometric Training on Physical Fitness in Team Sport Athletes: A Systematic Review.” Journal Of Human Kinetics 53, no. 1: 231-247. SPORTDiscus with Full Text, EBSCOhost (accessed April 26, 2017).
BERG, MICHAEL. 2017. “PLYO POWER.” Muscle & Performance 9, no. 3: 42. MasterFILE Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed April 26, 2017).