Plyometrics is a type of training focused on explosive movements, using the stretch-shortening cycle to increase power and athleticism. This training style has become increasingly popular in recent years, with athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike, looking to improve their performance through high-intensity exercises. If you’re new to plyometrics, this article will give you a comprehensive overview of what it is and how to get started.


What are Plyometrics?

Plyometrics is a type of training that involves quick, explosive movements that help to increase power, speed, and agility. This type of training is characterised by exercises performed at high speed, that require the muscle to be loaded and then rapidly unloaded. This type of training helps train the muscles to react quickly and with force, which can improve athletic performance in sporting aspects such as jumping, running, and throwing.

The stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) is a biomechanical process that involves a rapid lengthening, or eccentric contraction, of a muscle group immediately followed by a rapid shortening, or concentric contraction, of the same muscle group. This cycle is a fundamental aspect of plyometric training and is responsible for the explosive power generated during movements like jumping, throwing, and sprinting.

During the eccentric phase of the SSC, the muscle is rapidly stretched, creating potential energy that is stored within the muscle fibres. This stored energy is then released during the concentric phase of the SSC, which generates a rapid and forceful contraction of the muscle fibres. The rapid change from eccentric to concentric contraction is what gives plyometric exercises their explosive nature and makes them an effective way to develop power and speed

The stretch-shortening cycle can be broken down into three phases: the eccentric phase, the amortisation phase, and the concentric phase. The eccentric phase is the initial stretch of the muscle, the amortisation phase is the brief pause between the eccentric and concentric phases, and the concentric phase is the rapid shortening of the muscle that generates the explosive force.

Benefits of Plyometrics

Plyometrics have a range of benefits, including improved power, speed, and agility. These exercises have been shown to increase the efficiency of the stretch-shortening cycle, which is the process by which a muscle is loaded and then rapidly unloaded. This, in turn, leads to improved performance in activities that require quick, explosive movements. Plyometrics also helps to improve coordination, balance, and stability, which are key components of overall athletic performance.

How to Get Started with Plyometrics

Before you begin a plyometric training program, it’s important to have a solid foundation of strength and flexibility, achieved through a combination of weight training and mobility work. It’s also important to start simple and progress gradually, as plyometrics can be very intense and place a lot of strain on the body.

Some beginner-friendly plyometric exercises include jump squats, box jumps, and plyometric push-ups. As you progress, you can add more challenging movements like bounding, skipping, and hopping. These movements should be placed at the beginning of your sessions, after you have completed a thorough warm-up.