Remember the 80’s song Jump by Van Halen?
That’s exactly what we’re going to talk about in this week’s post on wellness– plyometrics.
What are plyometrics?
Plyometrics, or plyos (aka, jump training) are jumping exercises in which the muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time. The movements are fast and powerful and done in this manner at quick intervals:
First– muscle lengthening action (eccentric)
Second– muscle shortening action (concentric)
What health benefits do we get from doing plyos?
Reactive strength, or the ability of a muscle to change quickly from eccentric to concentric contraction, is increased by utilizing the strength shortening cycle (SSC). The SSC can create more power than an ordinary muscular contraction because it allows the muscle to store the tension from the stretch for a short period of time– making the muscle to react like a rubber band.
Increased explosiveness means increase in the amount of force you can produce, making you perform better in sports (higher jumps, faster running times, etc.)
How and when did plyos begin?
The early form of plyos originated in Russia in 1960s when Dr. Yuri Verkhoshansky observed that Olympic athletes had more strength and power after doing a high-altitude landing (jumping) when their muscles had been subjected to prior stretch. From this originated the principle of “shock training” which has now been known as “depth jumping.”
Depth jump is performed when a person drops (NOT jump) off a box or any platform, lands briefly to absorb the shock, then JUMPS immediately as high as possible.
The term “plyometrics” was first used in 1975 by American track-and-field coach Fred Wilt who was studying Dr. Verkhoshansky’s depth training extensively. Dr. Verkhoshansky has been credited as the father of plyometrics.
Which plyos are recommended?
Experts recommend that it is best to combine plyometric movements with resistance training to maximize performance. Beginners should use no more than 40-50 foot contacts (eg., jumps) in a workout.
Here are 8 best plyo moves as recommended by Men’s Fitness:
1. Plyo pushups– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wcAlTa6CIs
2. Box jumps– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxldG9FX4j4
3. Bounding– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUIsmLrtVpk
4. 2-Leg Bound (squat jump)– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMKLOPT95wA
5. Single-Leg Bounding– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEQVVlMR-iU
6. Depth Jumps– https://youtu.be/x6nPCmU2oRQ
7. Traveling Pushups (platform pushups)– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wcAlTa6CIs
8. Box Squat into Box Jump– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqSXhHV60eU
For other variations of plyo exercises, watch this video:
For more plyo box exercises, watch this video:
While you’re at it, enjoy listening to Van Halen.