what is it and why you should do it to be stronger

The plyometric ally with its jumps makes you stronger and more agile. And even novice athletes can do it. it’s like that

Eugenio Spagnuolo

Experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week. But we don’t live on aerobics alone: ​​we should devote part of this time to weight training (at least twice a week). Bodybuilding? Yes, but that’s not all. There are actually many ways to strengthen our muscles that don’t necessarily involve going to the gym. Carrying groceries or walking uphill can also help build strength.

Plyometric training: what is it?

One method used by athletes to improve their strength and performance, without lifting weights, is the so-called plyometric training, i.e. a training based on jumps and rapid and explosive movements. The aim is to train not only the muscles, but also the tendons and the nervous system to make the most of their elastic energy. This allows athletes to perform faster, more powerful movements that require less muscular effort. Which in the case of a sprinter, for example, can mean an easier time reaching top speed and maintaining it during races.

Plyometric training: why do it

The good news is that plyometric training isn’t just for experienced athletes. But according to physiologists, it has health benefits for everyone, even beginners. Indeed, several studies have shown that plyometric training improves muscle strength, size and speed, in addition to acting on coordination. All of these changes can lead to better performance. And it’s not just true in sports: plyometric training can help us improve fitness, cardiovascular flexibility, posture, bone health, and even reduce body fat, regardless of age. and physical activity. According to some studies, while older people who do plyometric exercises (such as vertical jumps) gain greater ability to jump and climb stairs than those who only do weight training or walking, teenagers who jump tug of war (another form of plyometrics) develops more strength. , flexibility and bone density. Finally, because plyometric exercises help improve coordination, they are also commonly used to help people recover from injuries.

Risks of plyometric training

Although plyometric training has many benefits, it is not exempt from the risk of injury if the exercises are performed incorrectly. A proposed test to assess fitness for this type of training is to balance on one leg in a semi-squatting position for 30 seconds. But those who don’t succeed shouldn’t be discouraged: there are plenty of plyometric exercises that even beginners can do. For example, activities such as jumping have less impact on our muscles and bones than other types of plyometric training. The risk of injury with plyometric training increases with the intensity of the jumps, so exercises like fall jump and bouncing should be avoided until you develop the strength to do it.

Plyometric movements to learn

In a scientific article published in The Conversation, two physiologists from the University of Hertfordshire have compiled a list of movements we should master to reduce the risk of plyometric training injuries. Here it is.

  • First, learn how to land properly. When you land you should be on one foot with your ankles, knees and hips bent to absorb the force. You can work this by simply balancing on one leg and then lightly jumping and landing on both. To progress, try to balance on one leg but land on the opposite leg while jumping.
  • Once you’ve learned how to land, it’s important to learn how to jump. Choose an object of adequate height that you feel comfortable jumping on, such as a small step, and practice jumping and landing techniques to properly absorb impact.
  • When you have mastered landing and jumping, you can switch to jumping in place repeatedly. Start with two feet at a time and progress to alternating single legs. As you become more confident and capable, you can increase the height of jumps, such as squat jumps (a squat with a jump at the start of the movement). To progress further, try jumping forward or sideways. But remember that the main goal of plyometric training is to be elastic.
  • The most difficult plyometric movements are known as shock jump or deep jumps. It’s about falling off a bench or a box (usually more than 30 cm high) on the ground and performing an instant jump. These jumps have a high landing force and should only be performed when you have mastered all the other techniques and can execute them with confidence.

Precautions aside, British experts are convinced of the quality of this type of training: “Plyometric training – they write – is a cost-effective form of exercise, in terms of time, which can improve your health and your If you want to give it a try, try doing plyometrics one to three times a week.”

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