In sports, power is essential. Whether you are sprinting on the track, jumping for a rebound in basketball, or swinging a bat/club in baseball/golf, explosive power can make all the difference in your performance. This is where plyometric training comes into play. Plyos are designed to help you develop explosive power by increasing the speed and force of muscle contractions.
Power is the ability to generate force quickly. It involves a combination of speed and strength. Strength alone isn’t enough to maximize power because the rate at which force is generated is what determines power. This is why athletes must first focus on strength, but once having a base should implement a vertical integration approach of strength, speed, power, hypertrophy.
Plyometric exercises involve exercises that require quick and explosive movements. These exercises utilize the stretch shortening cycle of the muscles ,which means the muscles are stretched before contracting, resulting in a more forceful contraction. Think of this like a rubberband. Plyometric exercises include the following; jumps (vertical & broad, multidirectional), bounds, explosive push-ups…etc
At some point strength is no longer the limiting factor for athletes, but power can be. Even if an athlete is very strong > (1.5-2.2x body weight for an exercise), they may not be able to generate enough force quickly to perform certain actions. This is the reason why it is important for athletes to improve their explosive power.
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In addition to improving power, plyometric training can also help develop coordination, agility and balance. Athletes should start out with extensive (low-intensity) exercises and gradually increase the intensity, complexity and volume over time.
Wrapping it up, plyometric training is a powerful tool for all athletes looking to improve their explosive power. By combining strength and speed, athletes will generate more force quickly, leading to better performance on the field, court, or in the pool. Remember having a general foundation of strength and speed first before training power. Strength and speed are the foundation, but power can be the X-Factor.
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