Let’s talk plyometrics! There are a lot of misconceptions in the fitness world about what plyometrics are, what their purpose is, and when and how to incorporate them into your training routine. We’d love to help clear some of these up.
So, what are plyometrics anyway? Plyometric training, also known as jump training, is a form of exercise that uses explosive movements to help athletes develop force, power, and speed - think box jumps, depth jumps, ice skaters, etc. The ultimate goal of plyos is to help athletes generate more force in a shorter amount of time.
Plyometric movements are meant to be done quickly and cleanly while generating as much force as possible with proper takeoff landing mechanics. Typically this means performing somewhere around 3-6 sets of 3-10 reps, focusing as much on form and power as possible. Plyometrics may raise your heart rate while they’re being performed, but the goal here is not to generate fatigue.
Now that we’ve talked about what plyos are, let’s talk about what they are not - cardio. As we’ve mentioned, the goal of plyometrics is to increase force production and decrease reaction time, not improve conditioning. In fact, when performed for cardio (in a Tabata circuit, for instance) plyos can actually do more harm than good. Once you start to fatigue, which is often the goal of conditioning circuits, your form becomes compromised, reducing the benefits of the movement and leaving you more susceptible to injury. This is especially true when performing plyometric movements where proper mechanics and form are crucial to avoiding injury.
Ultimately, plyometric exercises can be safe and effective for most athletes, but having a proper understanding of their purpose and how to incorporate them into your routine is key to getting the most out of them.
Pro+Kinetix Physical Therapy & Performance specializes in helping active individuals in Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, and San Francisco get back to exercising and working out pain free without having to take time off or relying on injections/pain medication. Pro+Kinetix offers physical therapy and performance services to all populations, with specialties in Sports Rehabilitation, Active Release Techniques, and Manual Therapy Techniques plus Personal and Small Group Training, Sport Clinics and Wellness Services