There are so many benefits of plyometric training especially for various sports and sporting events.
Plyometrics are an extremely good method of maintaining muscle mass and increasing strength and adding additional lean muscle as well. When performed correctly this type of training can help prevent many sports related injuries.
The one problem with plyometrics is that you cannot rely on just this type of training to reach your goals. They are great regardless of what your end result is but if you do too much then you will not achieve what you want. You can also cause injuries if you over-do it. That is why these exercises must be used as a part of an over-all fitness and training regime.
In order to notice the full benefits of plyometric training for your particular sport you must match your plyometric exercises to your sport.
All plyometric sports training has to be sport specific which basically means that the exercises you perform should match the movements of your sport as close as possible.
A good example is a volleyball player who needs to improve their vertical jump. In this instance the athlete should stick to box or drop jumps because they closely match the movements a volleyball player goes through during a game.
A different example we can use is that of a track and field athlete such as a javelin thrower. An athlete such as this would need to increase the power of each throw and therefore would need to use more upper body plyometric exercises in order to accomplish this.
Athletes who play basketball at a high level need constant and explosive power.
Now, plyometrics are explosive exercises that help an athletes vertical jump and leg power. Basketball players need to use this type of training because they will indeed improve the height the athlete can jump and will help with over all basketball performance on the court. If you can’t dunk a basketball but are close to getting to that point, proper plyometric exercises and drills will get you there the quickest.
A lot of people don’t realize that plyometrics will also go a long way to improving coordination, balance and flexibility. This is critical for elite basketball players.
Plyometric explosive leg power exercises work great for basketball because the leg muscles when trained this way will transfer into the exact movements during a game through muscle memory.
The key goal and benefit of plyometrics is not necessarily about building muscle size but rather producing maximum force instantaneously.
So with basketball you need to use lower body plyometric drills using box jumps, etc. Squat jumps are great in this situation.
Here is an example of a plyometric drill for basketball.
Start this exercise by positioning your body in a squat position. Your thighs should not go past parallel, initially. Now explode straight up while swinging your arms up and reaching as high as you can. When you come down land and stop in your initial starting position. Pause for a count of one then repeat.
As with basketball a volleyball player needs to increase vertical jump and power.
Keep in mind that plyometrics explosive leg power has to involve both muscle contraction speed and muscular strength. Plyometric drills helps athletes improve their neuromuscular system which means they will be able to produce a far greater amount of forces in a reduced period of time.
But if you do not have enough muscular strength as a result of strength training your results will be limited.
With an activity such as volleyball you should only use plyometrics during the off season for a number of weeks leading up to the start of the season. The off season period before this should be geared towards functional fitness and maximal strength.
With any type of training make sure you warm up your muscles properly prior to starting. However, do not over-do the warm up by going for runs, etc. All plyometric drills will require maximal muscle effort while using high-intensity plyometric exercises.
Soccer is a sport that will benefit greatly from this type of training. You can use the most basic plyometric exercises such as the various jumps and notice very good benefits.
As an example you can use a soccer ball when beginning. Begin by standing beside one and jump sideways over it then forwards and backwards over it. You can do about 20 reps sideways then switch and do the same number in the forward/backward direction.
One leg jumps over the soccer ball should be added in as well and performed in the same manner as mentioned above.
As mentioned above, you need to perform plyometrics that are sport specific. If you don’t you won’t really get the benefits of plyometric training you want on the field or on the court. Proper exercise selection is very important.
Start by performing 2 thirty-second sets. This means that the work portion of each set of this drill is continuous for thirty-seconds. This is followed by a thirty-second rest period. As you get more comfortable and your cardiovascular system adjusts, increase the work to one-minute sets.
Make sure you have a firm and flat surface to perform this drill.
With your feet closer than shoulder width apart bend your knees slightly and jump from side to side as quickly as you can as if you are skiing. Your jumps should be about eight inches to each side to don’t jump to far.
Make sure you go quickly enough that your feet hardly touch the ground on each side.
You can do 2 sets on one foot before moving on the opposite foot. Each set and rest period should last for twenty-five seconds.
Lets start with the left food first. Place it flat on a hard level surface. You opposite foot will be in a position straight ahead in front of your body, but not touching the floor at all.
Now to start the exercise swing your left foot in front of you while at the same time bringing the right one back. Only the left foot will touch the ground. Keep swinging it back and forth for the required time period. You right foot is primarily used for balance.
You must move your feet back and forth as quickly as possible. Once you are finished with your left leg, switch to the right.
Bunny hops begin with your feet in a shoulder-width position. Next lower yourself into a squat. This is the starting position.
Now force your arms backwards in a swinging motion then forward. As you bring them forward use your legs to leap up and forward as far as you possibly can.
Land so that your body is in the start position again. Without delay, continue until you have done as many as you can. Rest for 60 seconds and repeat for another set.
Unlike the above plyometric drill which uses both legs at the same time, bounds focus on one leg at a time.
From a standing position, leap forward using one leg to propel yourself and land on the opposite one. Again, without any delay use the opposite leg and perform the same action. Always make sure you use maximum effort on each bound for the full benefits of plyometric training. If you don’t you will simply be wasting your time.
Check through our website to read up on all the many benefits of plyometric training and improve your athletic performance and fitness levels.