Did you know that every professional coach will use plyometric training as one of the methods to get the team ready? There's a reason for it so without further ado let’s see what plyometric training is good for!
What is Plyometric Training?
Plyometrics (or plyo in short) is high-intensity interval training. Its main goal is to increase your speed and explosiveness. For that reason, today plyometric training is highly used by athletes as their main aim is to improve performance on the field.
In general, plyometrics is recommended to those who want to increase strength while improving mobility and overall athletic performance at the same time.
So let’s say you’re a basketball player or martial artist then plyometric training might be for you as it typically helps to jump higher, sprint faster and react quicker.
Plyometrics is a form of jump training and is extremely effective when combined with HIIT. As a result, plyometric training is widely used in Crossfit and HIIT type of training.
In essence, plyometrics meaning is associated with speed and explosiveness.
A study by PubMed found that plyometric training in combination with HIIT routine improves metabolic rate, increases muscle growth and helps our body to effectively burn more fat.
That means, not only you're burning more calories, but you also improve your power and explosiveness. Start with incorporating at least 20% plyometric training in your regular HIIT workout days and see the results yourself!
The Downsides of Plyometric Training
Plyometrics is a form of jump training so if a person has sore joints or previous injuries then plyo jumps might not be appropriate.
Things like warm-ups are extremely important because it allows the body to heat-up before the explosiveness starts. Your joints are mobile and you're ready for motion.
Plyometrics beginner or not, try to gradually increase the intensity level. This way, you'll decrease the stress on joints as much as possible.
Plyometrics for beginners is graduate and joint-friendly.
A good rule of thumb is to land as quietly as possible, with a straight back and your knees facing out (never on straight legs).
What Equipment You'll Need for Plyometric Training?
The good news is that plyometric training does not require heavy equipment. Workouts can be done without plyo equipment at all. In fact, a good plyometric workout can be done at home with a imaginary jumping rope. For beginners a simple bench would also work just fine.
For a more advanced routine, plyometric training usually resolves around plyo jump box. Plyo box training is considered to be one of the most multi-functional routines of all.
Plyo box exercises include anything from jumping-up-and-down to push-ups, dips, step-ups and more. It’s hard to find the best plyo box but there are mainly 3 kinds:
Wooden plyo box is the most common plyo jump box. It’s usually well constructed and stable (just watch out from splinters);
Foam plyo box (or soft plyo box) will be much softer than wood. It decreases the risk of injury and assures soft landing in case you have sensitive joints. The soft plyo box is bigger than the wooden one so it will take a bit more space when storing;
Adjustable plyo box is more advanced plyometric jump box because you can adjust the heights, hence make it harder for yourself. Adjustable plyo boxes are highly durable as normally they're made out of steel.
You can also get creative with your plyometric workouts. A good plyo workout will work your full body because it activates the major muscular areas in your body and boosts your overall level of fitness.
For muscle building, a good tip is to add weights to make it harder for yourself. The aim is to get a good mix of strength and speed training in a multifunctional and affordable way.
In plyometric training, jump box allows to create an effective and multi-functional routine that trains the whole body.
How to Start Plyometric Training if You're a Beginner?
The results of plyometrics starts when you're stretching your muscles and then recoil (think of exercises like squat jumps or bounce push-ups).
Nicely performed plyometric training can increase your strength, improve speed and most importantly prepare your joints for contact (aka prevent injuries).
Similarly to calisthenics, the best way to start plyometric training is by getting the basic plyo exercises as clean as possible.
Start with exercises like 'landing vertical jumps', 'bounce push-up', 'squat jumps', 'split-jumps', 'burpees', etc. before moving over to semi-athlete routines. You can find plenty of bodyweight polymetric routines online.
Your training quality will improve if you'll order a plyometric jump box and start incorporating harder workouts. Aim for bigger range of motion and increase of explosiveness.
Include at least 20% of plyometric training in your existing routine and watch how your body & endurance respond.
My advice is to get the basics down before moving on to advanced plyometric training. Over time, you'll see a dramatic improvement in your mobility, and ultimately be more elastic and always ready for a quick start.