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Are You Up For A Plyometrics Training Programme
Jun 2017
Leandi Van Zyl
Sport Scientist, Prosport Fitness Centre

What Is Plyometrics?
Plyometrics is a term used to describe exercises where you store elastic potential energy for a second and release it in to kinetic energy that makes your muscles move. It entails a muscle reaching optimum force in the least amount of time. Plyometrics is used in a very efficient way to increase your heart rate and it also works your whole body. As children we use to hop, skip and jump anywhere and everywhere and as grown-ups we have to incorporate these same simple principles in our training programmes in order to fully develop power. And these exercises involve the principles of plyometrics.

Phases Of Plyometrics
There are three phases of a plyometric exercise. First is the eccentric, which is the pre-stretch where the potential energy is stored. The second phase is the amortization phase, this phase is the pause between phase one and two - it is important to keep the amortization phase as short as possible so that the potential energy can be converted to kinetic energy. The last phase is the concentric phase where the movement happens. There are also three different modes of plyometrics: upper body, lower body and the trunk.

Important Guidelines
Before taking part in a plyometric programme, there are important guidelines to be followed in order to do these movements safely. Also, before taking part in any exercise programme, you should get an evaluation done, to see if there are any current injuries or illnesses that might obstruct training. The most important thing before taking part in a plyometric training programme is technique. When landing, ensure that your shoulders are in line with your knees, so that your centre of gravity is over the base of support. When the technique is proper you can benefit effectively from the exercises and prevent injuries.

The Role Of Strength And Balance
A certain level of strength is necessary before taking part in a plyometric training programme. The recommendation is that you should be able to squat 1.5 times your body weight and you should be able to bench up to 1 to 1.5 your body weight. Another important factor needed for plyometrics is balance. In order to properly execute bounding, skipping and jumping exercises, you should be able to balance. A simple test for balance is to stand on one leg for 30 seconds without falling.