What are plyometric exercises?
A gentleman with the name of Fred Wilt is the person who named this form of exercise as being Plyometric exercise. He noticed that the Russians who were training for the 1948 Olympics were using such an exercise so adopted it himself and as they say ‘the rest is history’.
Plyometric exercises which are sometimes known as ‘Plyos’ is a type of explosive action exercise in the training category. This form of explosive exercise is intended for people who are working at improving themselves in the performance sports category. Plyometric training exercises tend to work on the nervous system, helping the exercisers improve their fast, powerful, speedy, reactions when they are involving themselves in performance sports. Muscles tend to be stretched and contracted very quickly to produce the required movement. These kinds of exercises tend to be done by athletes who tend to do a lot of jumping, such as high jumpers, gymnasts, rugby players, shot putters, javelin throwers, footballers, track and field athletes, racket sports athletes, basket ballers,martial artists etc.
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Lower body parts
One such method of plyometric exercise for the lower body is drop jumping. The name of this exercise can be misleading, as it is not jumping at all, but the athlete actually will drop to the ground from an elevated platform, usually a box or a bench, then immediately bouncing straight back up again like a spring. The dropping down part of this exercise means that the legs get a pre-stretch before the hitting the ground and bouncing back up causing the muscle contraction. You will find that the quicker this action is performed then the better the result, in other words, the less time the feet are on the ground once dropping from the bench then the better the exercise works. Also involved in the power of the exercise depends on how high your bench or box is, 110cm is about average for this exercise, giving your muscles the time to load up before contact with the ground. Drop jumping is one of the higher impact plyometric exercises, before beginning this kind of exercise then the athlete will be trained to jump on the spot with both feet.
Another plyometric exercise can come from bounding; this is usually the sort of exercise that will be used by athletes whose sport includes forward motion. This is basically running forward, but you will be taking very long strides and spending more time than normal in the air. If you do need to do this as an exercise, then try bounding up the stairs, this will help you with your forward and your vertical action. Your legs will strengthen really well, as well as jumping over hurdles; this will help your legs for athletes who need jumping and running for their desired sport.
Upper body exercise
You will be able to find a variety of training exercises which will help with the explosive exercise you require for certain sports. Press ups and hand claps at the same time is a good start. This is a fantastic way of getting your arms and your chest into the condition that you want it to be. You will notice that the pre-stretch begins when the athlete touches the ground after the first press up and hand clap and the chest lowers, then you will find the explosive action occurs when the athlete is on the way back up again. Once again as with the legs, the best result comes from keeping contact with your hands and the floor to a minimum.
Medicine balls are used to help with the plyometric exercises in the arms also, but this requires a work out companion. Once you have a willing contributor or team member then you can begin. This exercise is performed by you lying on the floor on your back with your face at the feet of your team mate. He will stand on the floor or on a box and drop the ball at your face. This is where you will catch it with your hands before it gets anywhere near your face, and you will immediately throw it back to your team mate, keeping contact with the ball to a minimum. This exercise should only be performed when you have had some basic exercise training.
So what are the actual benefits of these exercises?
- You will find that your performance improves if you have a plyometric exercise program. Track and field athletes tend to benefit from this exercise as it enhances their running speed. But if you are not a runner, then maybe you can use it to help to enhance other sport’s needs, such as punching and throwing, in short it will help you to reach your goals in athleticism.
- Improving your muscle power in general is one thing you need to do in any sport. Plyometric exercise gives your muscles a workout which is intense enough to increase your muscle power greatly.
- Increased muscular endurance is a benefit of this exercise, which in turn helps you to burn calories easier. This is ideal for you if you are also trying to build a weight loss routine as well as build up some muscle tone. All athletes will need to learn a little bit of muscle endurance for their sport. If you have a great competition heading towards you fast, you can use plyometric exercise to increase your muscle power and increase your stamina enough to get you through and win the competition. Being as it is that plyometric exercise builds up muscles intensity which is of an explosive nature, and then this is an exercise which should regularly feature in your exercise routine.
- All of us know that exercise equipment can be expensive, and not everyone has the space for more exercise equipment. The only exercise equipment needed is you and a few things you will find lying around your own home, like a chair, box, football, floor and doorstep.
The best thing about Plyometric exercise is it is like playing and having fun. You can have fun with the children and they will not realize that you or they are exercising.