Plyometrics or "plyos" for short, are a type of exercise designed to produce fast and powerful movements. They are generally used by athletes to improve performance in sports, especially those that involve speed, quickness and power. In addition, it is possible to find plyometrics used in the fitness field, but to a much lesser degree. Thus, plyometric exercises is when you use explosive, fast-acting movements to develop muscular power and to improve overall speed. In other words, it's an exercise that allows muscles to exert maximum force in the shortest amount of time possible.
The following are examples of lower body and upper body plyometric exercises.
This exercise involves the athlete dropping (not jumping) to the ground from a raised platform or box, and then immediately jumping up. The drop down gives the pre-stretch to the leg muscles (eccentric phase) and the vigorous drive upwards the secondary concentric contraction phase. The exercise will be more effective the shorter the time the feet are in contact with the ground. The loading in this exercise is governed by the height of the drop that should be in the region of 70 to 110 cm (Bompa et.al, 2005). Drop jumping is a relatively high impact form of plyometric training and would normally be introduced after the athlete had become accustomed to lower impact alternatives, such as two-footed jumping on the spot.0
Bounding and hurdling
If forward motion is more the name of your game, try some bounding. This is a form of plyometric training, where over sized strides are used in the running action and extra time spent in the air. Two-legged bounds reduce the impact to be endured, but to increase the intensity one legged bounding, or hopping, can be used. Bounding upstairs is a useful way to work on both the vertical and horizontal aspects of the running action. Multiple jumps over a series of obstacles like hurdles are valuable drills for athletes training for sprinting or jumping events.
Examples of lower body plyometric exercises with intensity level:
- Standing based jumps performed on the spot (low intensity) - Tuck Jumps, Split Jumps
- Jumps from standing (low-medium intensity) - Standing long jump, Standing hop, Standing jump for height
- Multiple jumps from standing (medium intensity) - bounds, bunny hops, double footed jumps over low hurdle, double footed jumps up steps
- Multiple jumps with run in (High intensity) - 11 stride run + 2 hops and a jump into sandpit, 2 stride run in + bounds
- Depth jumping (high-very high intensity) - jumps down and up off box (40 to 100cm), bounding up hill
- Eccentric drop and hold drills (high-very high intensity) - hop and hold, bound/hop/bound/hop over 30 metres (athletes stop and hold on each landing before springing into the next move), drop and hold from a height greater than one metre
Examples of lower body plyometric exercises are detailed on the Leg Plyometric page.
A variety of drills can be used to make the upper body more explosive:
Press ups & hand clap: Press-ups with a hand clap in between is a particularly vigorous way to condition the arms and chest. The pre-stretch takes place as the hands arrive back on the ground and the chest sinks, and this is followed quickly by the explosive upwards action. Once again, to get the best training effect keep the time in contact with the ground to a minimum.
BodyKore plyometric boxes provide maximum stability and durability with heavy duty steel construction and fully welded frames. The plyobox is perfect for anyone and can be used to enhance forward jumps, lateral jumps, and other plyometric drills. These are available in multiple heights and come with heavy duty Nonslip platform to maximize safety. We offer the plyoboxes in a variety of sizes: 12", 18", 24", 30", 36", and 42".