Plyometrics Overview

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Plyometrics Overview

Postby Canuck Singh » Sun Jun 08, 2008 9:39 am

Description:

Plyometric training involves practicing plyometric movements to toughen tissues and train nerve cells to stimulate a specific pattern of muscle contraction so the muscle generates as strong a contraction as possible in the shortest amount of time. A plyometric contraction involves first a rapid eccentric movement, followed by a short amortization phase, then an explosive concentric movement, which enables the synergistic muscles to engage in the myotatic-stretch reflex during the stretch-shortening cycle. Plyometric exercises use explosive movements to develop muscular power, the ability to generate a large amount of force quickly. Plyometric training acts on both the musculotendinous and neurological levels to increase an athlete's power output without necessarily increasing their maximum strength output. Plyometrics are used to increase the speed or force of muscular contractions, often with goals of increasing the height of a jump or speed of a punch or throw.

Physics:

Muscular power is determined by how long it takes for strength to be converted into speed. The ability to convert strength to speed in a very short time allows for athletic movements beyond what raw strength will allow. Thus an athlete who has strong legs and can perform the freeweight squat with extremely heavy weights over a long duration may get less distance on a standing long jump or height on a vertical leap than a weaker athlete who is able to generate a smaller amount of force in a shorter amount of time. Though the plyometrically trained athlete has a lower maximal force output and may not squat as much, training allows them to compress the time required to reach their maximum force output, allowing them to develop more power with each contraction.

Basic Examples:

Bench Side Steps
- Stand next to a bench or step and step onto this with leg closest which this leg doing all the work. Once it's on the step/bench and straight, return to floor.

Bench Side Hops - Jump sideways over a bench/step, then back across again.

Static Jumps - Jump up bringing knees high to Chest. As soon as feet touch ground jump again minimising foot contact with the ground.

45 Degree Lunges - As a conventional Lunge but at 45 degrees. Very low weight to remove injury risk.

Jump Squats - Lighter weight than conventional squat into a jump. Upon landing bend legs down to parallel and power up again.

Bench Hurdles 1 - Set up 2 or 3 benches/steps and jump 2 footed up on to each bench/step and then off, then on to the next and so on.

Bench Hurdles 2 - As 1 but jump over the bench/step 2 footed.

Press Up Claps - Like a conventional Press Up expect power up more and add a clap at the top of the press before placing hands back on the ground and taking the body back down.

Monitor progress by using the foot contacts method and counting the number of times the feet make contact with the ground over a number of reps and sets. The number of foot contacts will then hopefully increase over time and possible within a given time limit which can then be stepped.

For example with Bench Side Hops 1 rep would be hopping over the bench/step one way and then the other which would count as 2 foot contacts. Doing 4 sets of 10 would count as 80 foot contacts.

200 foot contacts is a good starting point per session with 400 being a maximum.

Benefits:

Incresed power and explosive capacity as well as cordination and concentration span.
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Re: Plyometrics Overview

Postby Canuck Singh » Sat Jul 19, 2008 2:04 pm

Some Tips before Vertical Jumping

1. STATIC STRETCH THE HIP FLEXORS BEFORE TESTING YOUR VERTICAL JUMP!
since the hip flexors aren’t prime movers in jumping and they tend to resist our jump, the goal is to weaken them and put them to "sleep" before jumping. Static stretching accomplishes these goals.
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2. STRENGTHEN YOUR FLEXOR HALLUCIS LONGUS!
The flexor hallucis longus originates on the lower two-thirds of the fibula and inserts on the distal phalanx of the great toe. It plantar flexes the foot and also flexes the great toe. These muscle actions are an integral part of the vertical jump as well as sprinting. Getting this often-overlooked muscle stronger can be that added inch on your vertical jump that you thought was impossible.
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The best way to train this muscle in the weight room is by performing single leg calf raises while holding a dumbell. (See pictures below.) When performing this exercise, try to keep most of your weight on the big toe of the working leg.

3. FOCUS ON RAPIDLY DESCENDING INTO YOUR JUMP!

4. PEAK FOR YOUR VERTICAL JUMP BY PERFORMING 50-REP RHYTHM SQUATS!
This exercise is done by performing 50 quarter-squats as fast as possible. Do the first 10 reps exploding onto your toes; then, on reps 11-20 keep your feet flat on the way up; explode onto your toes again while performing reps 21-30; keep your heels down for reps 31-40, and then finish the final 10 reps by exploding onto your toes again. It helps to have a partner count out loud so you can perform all 50 reps as fast as possible without breaking momentum.
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5. WEAR TRACK WAFFLES WHEN TESTING YOUR VERTICAL!
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Re: Plyometrics Overview

Postby Canuck Singh » Sun Nov 02, 2008 1:42 pm

In a vertical jump the glutes contribute 40% and the hamstrings 25%. The quads only contribute around 5% of the power required while the deltoids contribute at least 15% to the height achieved in anyone’s’ vertical jump test. If you don’t believe me, try doing a vertical jump with your hands on your hips, and then do another using your arms. Your vertical jump will always be higher with use of your arms.
The problem with isolation type movements like the ones you are performing in the gym is they build big strong prime mover muscles (quads) with little incorporation of stabilizer (glute minimus, medius and adductors) and lower back musculature.
This creates massive strength imbalances, that increase susceptibility to injury to the weaker areas trying to ‘keep up,’ and greatly diminishes your ability to generate functional strength. Muscles are meant to work in a synergistic fashion, such as performing the complex movements in sport like running, jumping, lifting, tackling etc.

If you look at someone perform a vertical jump you will see they accelerate right through the movement. The force they initially generate via bending the knees, causes them to leave the ground. Power is basically Speed x Strength/Time. When you perform a standard heavy squat, even though you push hard as you can from that bottom-out position you then decelerate at the top end range of movement.

1. Firstly, progress now to more specific strength movements that activate your stabilizing musculature to a much larger extent. Incorporate these exercises into your leg and back workouts; split squats, step ups, good mornings, and a variety of deadlifts. These exercises will increase the maximal strength of the muscles used in jumping.
2. Then you should learn some of the exercises that make up the training of Olympic lifters, such as power cleans, power snatches and a variety of pulls they use to generate explosive strength. This is the ability of the nervous system to produce a high amount of force in the shortest amount of time (the essence of power). The lifts I have mentioned are complex (high coordination and neurological demand) so make sure you seek the assistance of a qualified strength coach to show you how to perform them.

Perform these explosive movements initially with very light weight and work up. I recommend alternating between cycles of heavy, strength type movements (squats, deadlifts) for 3 weeks and then the lighter ‘explosive’ type movements (powercleans etc) for 2-3 weeks. Don’t worry about losing muscle size, in fact your muscle mass will increase as a result of incorporating these functional exercises in to your program.
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