Name one Olympic sport that doesn't require speed, agility or strength.
If you choose curling you are right, but what are professional curlers doing
on bodybuilding.com? For any serious athlete, speed, agility or strength,
makes up the foundation of training.
Training For Everything
But to train in all three areas you
have to run, stretch consistently, and lift weights frequently, unless of
course you do plyometric exercises. But before I begin describing
plyometrics, it is important that I stress that plyometrics do not take the
place of running, stretching and weight training, the help enhance the
Beginning of Plyometrics
Plyometrics were developed in Eastern Europe (read "Beginner's Guide to
Strength Training" for details) for Olympic competitors. The words plyo and
metrics are Latin for "measurable increases."
All plyometric exercises are
done quickly and correctly. There are never any shortcuts. Every action is
done in the intent to have a muscle reach full movement as quickly as
possible. I am going to cut straight through all of the scientific
terminology and eccentric concentric mumbo jumbo and say that if you do
plyometrics consistently and correctly you will see results.
"What Is Your Main Goal?"
OK, now that you know about what plyometrics are and what they can do,
you have to write your plyometric workout. The first thing you have to
consider is "What is your main goal?" Do you want to cut down on you 40
time, throw the discus further or jump higher for basketball?
How Will It Improve me?
Then it is
easy to tell what type of sport you are going to focus on. As an example,
track and field sprints will improve your 40, track and field throwing will
improve your discus and obviously basketball plyometric exercises will help
you jump higher.
Now that you have the sport is will be much easier to
research for you plyometric exercises. Unless you already know everything
there is to know about plyometrics (what are you reading this for?) you are
going to have to research either online or in a book.
There are several
books that will have plyometric exercises pulled out for each sport. These
exercises will be based on the target areas of each sport. Target areas are
the parts of the body that receive the most stress during performance. As an
example, biking is hardest on legs and tennis is hard on arms and legs.
For a basic plyometric workout I will use football. Depending upon your
level (Junior High, High School or College) you should already have some
sort of aerobic and resistance program. Five plyometric exercises pulled out
exclusively for football in Donald A. Chu PhD's Jumping Into Plyometrics
(Second Edition) are double legs hops, standing long jump to lateral sprint,
depth jump to bag, depth jump to pass and a 90-second box drill. All
exercises except for the last are to be done in three sets of five.
Going Into Detail
Looking at each exercise in depth, three of the five exercises include
the use of a plyo-box. Most plyo-boxes have adjustable legs that can change
from about 14-to-22 inches. The first exercise, double leg hops, requires no
equipment. You start with you feet shoulder width apart. Then you squat
down and jump as far as you can jump in a forward motion. The split second
your feet touch the ground you need to repeat the jumping motion.
Moving up in difficulty is the standing long jump to lateral sprint.
Start in the same squat position as the double-leg hops. Use as much arm
swing and momentum as you can to do a standing long jump, plant your feet
and sprint to the left or right for about ten feet.
The next two exercises require the use of a depth jump. A depth jump
begins with the person standing with their toes on the edge of the box. They
do not jump into the air, but they just drop down into a squat. The depth
jump with bag and depth jump with pass are pretty much the same.
the first with a depth jump, but then you immediately throw yourself forward
and tackle a blocking bag. The next exercise begin with a depth jump, but
instead of tackling a bag, you have a partner throw the ball up high so you
have to jump up to try to catch it.
The Ninety-Second Drill
The 90-second box drill is more difficult. You begin standing next
to the box with feet shoulder width apart. At the start of a clock, jump up
onto the box and jump down on the other side. Immediately jump back onto the
box and back down on the other side. Remember to be on the ground for as
short as possible.
While jumping, try to pull your knees up into your chest.
Every time you land on top of the box you count one. The goal is to make
ninety touches in ninety seconds. If that is too difficult make it sixty
touches in sixty seconds, or thirty touches in thirty seconds. If you are
just beginning your plyometric training and you still can't reach 30
touches in 30 seconds you can work in sets of 10 or 15. This
exercise needs to be done three times.
When Is It Best For Me?
Make sure with each sports season you perform a new group of exercises to
meet the sports needs. Plyometrics are done best after your aerobic workout.
If you are serious about plyometrics you can buy a plyo-box, but they can
cost up to two hundred dollars. If that is too expensive, or you just want
to try plyometrics out, you can build one out of wood (make sure it is
stable). As I said before, plyometrics do NOT take place of running,
stretching, and weight lifting, they will just enhance your results.
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