What are plyometrics?
Plyometrics is a category of exercises that are focused on high-intensity, explosive movements to increase overall athleticism and agility. Exercises like repetitive jumps single-leg jumps and even sprinting are considered plyometric exercises.
It is one of the most underrated and neglected types of exercise which is a shame considering the benefits it can provide to everyone from casual fitness participants to all kinds of professional athletes who are looking to take themselves to the next level. It doesn’t require a lot of time and you can do them without any equipment.
A problem many fitness people face
Fitness and working out are challenging things. They require discipline, time, physical and emotional endurance. It is something to be proud of and it rewards us with better health physical appearance, confidence, and stronger will or resolve.
What ends up happening for most people though is they only focus on one aspect of overall fitness, like only running or only weightlifting. Although sometimes this is by choice and people only want to participate in a certain activity, many people don’t know that there are other types of exercises that help you in a way weightlifting for example doesn’t.
There are many times I have seen athletes weightlifting and training like a bodybuilder so they can jump higher or run quicker, only to be disappointed at the end, where now they have lost their agility and have become slower. This is a very common and understandable problem since fitness is a very broad term and it is easy, especially for young athletes who with a combination of their ego and the inexperience that follows the age, hurt themselves. That is why it’s important to always research and be informed before you decide.
How plyometrics can help athletes?
The truth is elements of plyometrics are used in almost all sports. That is mostly in the warm-up stage when the athletes do drills to get their body prepared but that is not plyometrics at its fullest. Many high-profile organizations incorporate high explosivity box jumps and band resistance jumps in their training. They are also used a lot by personal trainers and camps designed to better the athletes.
As far as the vast majority of organizations through plyometrics are not used for multiple reasons but mainly because of budget and expect athletes to do them on their own (many of them just tell them to work out without further instructions ). This results in the problem mentioned above where most of the athletes train to become bodybuilders and not athletes.
This should not limit you and your dreams, plyometrics can be done without any equipment and you do not need specialized coaches or programs. As long as you follow the basics and start scaling them once you’re gotten better you will start to see results .
What I mean by that is not that athletes should not weightlift quite the opposite, all I’m saying is they should optimize their workout routines based on the sport for example if you’re a basketball player and you do squats to increase your vertical you should aim for low reps but high velocity, not the opposite as you’re building endurance, not vertical explosiveness. Genarally I recommend a workout plan that combines lifting with plyometrics.
How plyometrics can help everyone?
Some of the plyometrics benefits include improved cardiovascular fitness meaning improved heart rate and overall heart health, increased bone destiny, and injury prevention. One of its main benefits is how efficient they are, you don’t need to do prolonged sessions as it involves quick hick intensity workouts and you don’t need any kind of equipment, remember even sprinting is considered plyometric, you can run up stairs or use anything that can simulate a box for boxing jumps.
Also, it improves muscle coordination, balance, sleep quality, and mental health, focus. In addition, especially sprinting burns a lot of calories and can really help you on your weight loss journey. Lastly, studies have even proven that sprinting affects your testosterone which is especially beneficial for men who compared to other generations have drastically lower levels of testosterone.
I like to say that weightlifting is the way you build muscle and plyometrics is the way you learn how to use the power of the muscles that you developed. I think it is a very good supplement to all kinds of workout plans and unlike other ones where you don’t have time or money or equipment plyo is accessible to everyone and it should not be overlooked for fitness participants.
If you have a gym subscription you may find some plyo equipment. After some weeks of work, you would be surprised with plyometrics benefits as how much your body has advanced and you scaled it as much as you want.
The best case scenario is you build a combination of endurance, explosiveness, and power but I know how hard it is for some people who barely have time for lifting at the gym as it is, nonetheless, if you can squeeze in some sessions of plyometric workouts or combine them at the gym whether you’re a professional athlete or you’re just thinking to improve your speed plyometrics would be really beneficial. Just be sure you doing the exercises in the correct form and especially in the begging be careful about the load you put your body through and prevent injury as much as you can, just like in the gym you don’t put immediately heavy weights.