Why should you jump anyway?
Turns out that the athletes that perform plyometric training (PT) will improve their personal best. PT also known as “jump training” or “plyos” are exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal of increasing power (speed-strength). This training focuses on learning to move from a muscle extension to a contraction, in a rapid or explosive manner such as in specialized, repeated jumping.
PT is characterized by the operation of the stretch-shortening cycle that develops during the transition from a rapid eccentric, (when the muscle lengthens), muscle contraction, to a rapid concentric, (when the muscle shortens), muscle contraction.
Here is a video of an exercise to help.
Double leg jump squats?- Start the exercise by assuming a squat position. Now propel yourself upwards, towards the ceiling. Making sure to land the same way you took off. The key is to make sure you land with good control. If you are struggling with control, reduce the distance covered through your jump.
How can it improve running?
Running economy (RE) is typically defined as the energy demand for a given velocity of sub-maximal running, and is determined by measuring the steady-state consumption of oxygen (VO2), and the respiratory exchange ratio. Taking body mass (BM) into consideration, runners with good RE use less energy and therefore less oxygen than runners with poor RE at the same velocity. There is a strong association between RE and distance running performance.
Research has been shown that PT can improve running economy.
The physiological effects of PT
The neuromuscular stimulus of PT induces specific neural adaptations, such as increased activation of motor units. There is less muscle hypertrophy, (growth), than typically observed after high resistance strength training. This influences neuromuscular control and joint stabilization.
Several research studies have confirmed that PT can enhance muscle strength, power, speed and agility. Additionally, numerous studies have discovered further positive effects of short-term PT on jumping performance in basketball, football, handball and other team sports games.
PT is a high load exercise and you will need to gradually prepare your body for the activity to reduce your risk of injury.
It is important to combine PT with your general training program to ensure steady progression. In high mileage weeks, it is recommended to reduce your PT to avoid injuries and ensure full recovery. Warm up, foundational strength, and resistance training experience are also very important before you start your PT.
A major consideration when training with plyometric exercise is the need to closely monitor technique and ensure biomechanical safety.
For more information about Plyometrics Training and building up the speed for your next race
If you would like additional information about Plyometrics Training and building up the speed for your next race or to discuss how we may be able to help with your next race, please contact us using the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Here are some of our E-Books to help you
Chu, Donald. (1998) Jumping into plyometrics (2nd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. 1?4.
Saunders PU et al. (2003) The impact of resistance training on distance running performance. Sports Med.33(7):539-52.
Sale DG. Komi P. (1991) Strength and power in sport. Champaign: Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc;. Neural adaptation to strength training. 249?265.
Maamar Slimani, Karim Chamari et al. (2016) Effects of Plyometric Training on Physical Fitness in Team Sport Athletes: A Systematic Review. Journal Of Human Kinetics. 53(1). 10-14.
Berryman et al. (2010) Effect of Plyometric vs. Dynamic Weight Training on the Energy Cost of Running. Journal of strength and conditioning research. 24(7), 1818-1825.
Davies G. Riemann L.B. Manske R. (2015) Current concept of plyometric exercise. IJSPT. 10(6), 760-786.
This article was written by Einav Cohen – St. Pauls Perfect Balance Physiotherapist and adapted for ATW by Sean Jennings ATW website assistant.