Plyometrics is a relatively new training technique, the main principle of which is to perform exercises as quickly as possible, and the positive phase of the amplitude is accompanied by a jump. A classic example of plyometric movement is push-ups with cotton. They are known to everyone since childhood and for many years have been a kind of indicator of strength and functional fitness.
This and other similar exercises for a long time were successfully used in special physical training, then migrated to martial arts, from there – to street workout. They are now used by many fitness and crossfit athletes. This brings them a lot of benefits and allows them to fully develop the body. Today we will try to figure out the benefits of plyometric exercises, whether they can be used instead of iron, and what results can be achieved with their help.
What is plyometric exercise?
Explosive strength is an essential component of any sports discipline. Without it, you will not be able to show a decent speed-strength result. By doing plyometrics, you will tune your muscles and central nervous system to deliver powerful, rapid effort in a short amount of time. The main work will be performed by slow muscle fibers, which have a weak tendency to hypertrophy, but significantly increase muscle endurance.
To maximize the efficiency of the exercise you are doing, you need to do it with maximum effort. When you go through the positive phase of the amplitude as quickly as possible (squeezing the bar, getting up from the bottom during squats, lifting from the support while lying down, etc.), you are essentially performing an explosive (plyometric) effort. If there was a second pause before, the effect will be even greater: you will become much stronger and faster. This is fundamentally important in powerlifting, crossfit, martial arts and athletics. Remember that strength is the product of mass and acceleration, and for developing the latter, plyometrics is one of the most effective training methods.
By regularly using plyometric exercises in your training process, you will increase strength, improve exercise technique and be able to perform movements at a faster pace, which, in turn, will lead to the development of strength endurance.
Benefits of plyometric exercises
Plyometrics is a very convenient training method. Most of the exercises performed do not require additional equipment, you can fully train using only your own body weight. You may well be doing fruitful work at home. The workout itself will also not take long, 50 minutes will be enough , including warm-up and cool down.
In addition, working with your weight, you do not overload the articular-ligamentous apparatus and the cardiovascular system. The body perceives this as a relatively low-intensity exercise. There is virtually no risk of injury if you follow the correct exercise technique.
If you want to build muscle, you should combine plyometrics with classic strength training. Then functional development in all respects will not be long in coming. This system is great for both men and women.
Disadvantages of plyometric training
If you are an experienced athlete, then the stress that plyometric exercises cause to the body will not be enough to see tangible progress in form or physical performance. Not because plyometrics is easy, but because mainly slow-twitch muscle fibers (MMF) are involved, which do not lend themselves well to hypertrophy and are poorly involved in classical strength work for 8-12 repetitions. However, advanced IIMs will help you do the exercises faster and do more reps, which will be beneficial to your overall progress.
Also, many athletes complain about the rather limited arsenal of exercises. This is understandable: classes in the gym make it possible to load each muscle group from different angles; in plyometric training, we can only choose between different variations of push-ups, squats, pull-ups and jumps. It’s efficient, but too monotonous.
It is quite difficult to increase the load in plyometrics and it is generally not clear what criteria should be followed here. Which is best for your body: 20 push-ups with cotton or 10 push-ups with two cotton?
This style of training is not suitable for beginners if their goal is to gain muscle mass quickly. Plyometrics generally have little relation to bodybuilding and fitness. Rather, it is one of the methods for developing the functional capabilities of the body. You are working to become faster, stronger and more enduring. If these parameters are developed to a certain level, any further goals will be given to you much easier, be it an increase in strength or muscle growth.
What to look for in plyometric exercises?
- Be sure to warm up before starting each workout.
- Do each repetition at the same pace. The pace should be fast, but the execution of the movement itself should be controlled.
- All exercises are done in circles. That is, you practically without interruptions (maximum 5-10 seconds) perform all the exercises one by one in turn, which will make up one circle. You can start with 2-3 such cycles and work up to 5-6.
- Maintain a high intensity of training, do not rest more than 1.5-2 minutes between circles, so that the muscles do not cool down and the heart rate does not drop.
- Use a heart rate monitor while exercising, try not to increase your heart rate above 140-150 beats per minute.
- Effort (jump up) is always performed on exhalation, inhalation is done while going down.
- In the first months of such training, you do not need to use additional weights.
- The duration of the approach should not exceed 60 seconds.
- To avoid injuring joints and ligaments, always land on slightly bent arms or legs.
- Do not exercise to full capacity (anaerobic glycolysis) to avoid overworking the central nervous system.
Effectiveness of plyometric exercises
Plyometrics are a great addition to strength training. Applying its elements in your training process, it will be easier for you to work with large weights, as the muscles will get used to the explosive pace of the exercises. As a result, you will get a more developed and functional body.
It’s a great idea to use plyometric exercises as part of periodization. For example, you work out intensively in the gym for three weeks, followed by a week of plyometrics. This will slightly relieve the central nervous system, allow joints and ligaments to relax, but at the same time will give an unusual load on the muscles. This approach will increase your athletic performance.
Plyometrics are extremely effective in addition to strength training. Almost all powerlifters and high-level weightlifters find time for it in their training plan. Plyometric leg exercises such as pedestals and back squats with a pause at the bottom are great helpers for a strong squat or deadlift.
If you are just a beginner, then first of all you need to increase the strength indicators in basic exercises. Dedicate your first year of class to this. When you have already achieved some success and want to make changes in the training process, start doing plyometric exercises. This will help you overcome stagnation and improve your fitness.
Complexes of plyometric exercises
As a rule, in CrossFit, plyometric exercises are performed in the framework of complexes: you perform several exercises in a row, then a short period of rest follows.
Exercises can be both for one muscle group, and for different ones. The basic plyometric exercises are as follows:
- Explosive push-ups. They can be performed with clap, two claps, clap in front of you and behind your back, throwing your arms forward, and so on. There are tons of options.
- Cotton pull-ups. The arms are torn off the bar and the clap occurs at the top of the trajectory.
- Jump Squats or Swap Squats. Here you need to lower yourself to the sitting position and jump out of this position. In flight, straighten your legs and land on slightly bent ones, and then sit down again. In the variant with changing legs, the jump is performed from a lunge, the supporting leg changes in flight.
- Jumping. For example, on a curbstone or stacked pancakes.
- Burpee. From a standing position, the athlete lowers to the lying position, wrung out, and then, when lifting, performs a jump with the throw of his arms up. Can be combined with other exercises, such as pull-ups or pull-ups on the horizontal bar.