Your Top Plyometric Drills For Fitness Conditioning

Plyometric drills produce the dynamic action behind the rapid pro-stretch or "cocking" phase of your muscles. This "activates" your natural recoil properties.

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Examples include taking the arm back into position prior to throwing a baseball or bending the knees prior to jumping.

Plyometric exercises can be broken down into three phases:

  1. Lengthening phase (eccentric contraction)
  2. Amortization phase
  3. Take-off (concentric contraction)

During the lengthening phase your muscles create tension like a spring being stretched. This type of contraction, called an eccentric contraction, occurs when performing movements such as jumping down from an object running downhill or lowering a weight.

During an eccentric contraction, tension is built into the muscle as it lengthens. The take-off occurs via concentric contraction of the muscles. During this phase your muscle shortens as it contracts.

The amortization phase is the time from the beginning of the lengthening phase to the beginning of the take-off phase. This is the most important phase.

The goal is to decrease the amount of time in the amortization phase and thereby increase speed.

Using certain supplements is recommended when performing any Plyometric Drills.

Preparation For
Plyometric Drills

Plyometric workouts should be done only when an adequate strength base has been developed. An adequate strength base for lower body plyometric exercises is the ability to squat or leg press 1.5 to 2.0 times your body weight for one maximum repetition.

For upper body plyometric exercises larger athletes (weight greater than 115 kg or 250 lbs.) should be able to bench press their body weight and athletes weighing less than 115 kg (250 lbs.) should be able to bench press 1.5 times their body weight.

Plyometric Drills
Safety Issues

Steps can be taken to ensure you are safe. Measures include using an appropriate surface, footwear, and equipment and proper technique.

Surface:

Plyometric drills should not be performed on hard surfaces such us concrete or steel, nor should they be performed on soft surfaces such as sand. The best surface is a grass field, followed by artificial turf or thin wrestling mats.

Plyometric drills should incorporate those types of movements (i.e., linear, vertical, lateral, or a combination) required for your specific fitness performance.

For example, downhill skiing would require diagonal movements, close-quarters competition (i.e. football) would require horizontal, vertical, and diagonal movements.

The overload principal is the basis for any training program whether it's cardiovascular training or the development of muscular strength, endurance, or power.

The three variables used in the overload principal include:

  • Frequency
  • Volume (or duration)
  • Intensity

By increasing any one or a combination of them you can continuously and safely overload your system.

Frequency:

Frequency is the number of workouts per week (or other unit of time). Plyometric drills should consist of two training sessions per week when demands require it. Allow 2-3 days for recovery between workouts to avoid overtraining or injury.

Volume or Duration:

The volume for plyometric exercises is defined as the number of foot contacts or landings.

  • Beginners: 80-100 landings per session
  • Intermediate: 100-120 landings per session
  • Advanced: 120-140 landings per session

Intensity:

The intensity is the level of stress placed on your neuromuscular system, connective tissue and joints. It's determined by the type of plyometric exercises.

For example, skipping low intensity while box jumps are higher intensity.

  • Vertical jumps are more stressful than horizontal jumps
  • One leg landings are more stressful than two feet
  • The higher off the ground you are, the more forceful the landing and the more stressful the exercise
  • Adding weight also increases stress

When choosing plyometic drills it is best to increase only one variable per session to reduce the likelihood of injury. Frequency is constant while either volume or intensity is increased.

When doing high intensity plyometric exercises the volume should decrease since these place significant stress or the muscles, joints, and connective tissue.

Example of a 10-Week plyometrics program:

  1. Weeks 1 / 2 - 4 low intensity exercises - 10 reps; 2 sets

  2. Weeks 3 / 4 - 2 low and 2 medium intensity exercises - 10 reps; 2 sets

  3. Weeks 5 / 6 - 4 medium intensity exercises - 10 reps; 2 - 3 sets

  4. Weeks 7 / 8 - 2 medium intensity exercises & 10 reps; 2 - 3 sets 2 high intensity exercises - 10 reps; 2 sets

  5. Weeks 9 / 10 - 4 high intensity exercises - 10 reps; 2 sets

What Plyometric Exercises, Drills & Workouts Do You Find Very Useful?

Do you use any unique and effective Plyometric exercises, drills & workouts? What was your experience with them? What results did you notice? Do you have a good or a bad story to tell about your own experience with certain Plyometric exercises, drills & workouts? Or do you have some good information that we may have missed? Let others know!

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Single Leg Explosion Plyometrics 
For this plyometrics exercise put one foot up on a two foot plyometrics equipment box, the other on the ground next to it. Using the leg up on the box, …

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