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What are Plyometrics

Sep 23, 2007

Plyometrics are exercises which are intended to increase
muscular power. A number of athletes such as boxers
integrate plyometrics into their training regimen. When
practiced safely, the exercises allow athletes to bring
considerable power into their sports activities, which can
be a major advantage. Because plyometrics are high
intensity exercises, only athletes who are in good
condition should attempt them, preferably under the
guidance of a trainer or instructor. Athletes should also
be attuned to their bodies, checking for signs of injury
and adjusting their routine as needed.

In order to move a muscle, a contraction is required.
Athletes have noticed that this contraction is much more
powerful immediately after a muscle has been stretched, in
what is termed an “eccentric contraction.” Plyometrics
trains athletes to stretch their muscles and then quickly
contract them to create an explosive burst of power which
exceeds the raw strength of an athlete. It is the principle
behind incredibly fast baseball pitches, hard punches, and
high jumping, among many other athletic feats.

Since plyometrics is all about cultivating bursts of power,
the exercises take the form of explosive movements such as
jumps, hops, and bounds. The main goal of training in
plyometrics is to shorten the time between stretching and
contracting a muscle, converting strength into speed for
more power. In this sense, the musculotendinous system of
the body is re-trained, along with the neurological system,
which normally limits force in the interest of protecting
the body from injury.

It is very important to properly warm up before attempting
plyometric exercises, because the movements can damage
muscles which have not been properly stretched and
conditioned. In addition, the athlete must be in good
shape, and of an optimal age and body weight. Since the
exercises are easy to perform inappropriately, athletes
should be carefully instructed and monitored while they
learn plyometrics. In addition, properly padded shoes
should be used in a padded and reinforced workout space.

When done properly, plyometrics will increase agility and
coordination as well as power. It is used as a supplement
to other forms of physical conditioning, and it is crucial
to cool down properly after the exercises as well. Athletes
who are interested in exploring plyometrics should talk to
their coaches, who will be able to assess whether or not
the athlete is ready for the activity. In addition, a coach
can recommend specific exercises or a plyometric trainer
who can establish a safe and productive routine.

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