Plyometrics got its start in Eastern Europe during the 1960s, when Olympic sprinters and weightlifters started implementing more explosive movements in their workouts. As the rest of the world witnessed plyometrics' fast results, athletes from all sports began to use it into their training.
If you've limited yourself to dumbbells and barbells, here are a few reasons to expand your training to include plyometrics:
Thanks to its quick, powerful movements, plyometrics is one of the fastest ways to develop explosive power—the ability to exert force rapidly. Power is useful for any athlete, from a running back accelerating through an opening in the defense to a figure skater pushing off the ice for a jump. What could you do with more explosiveness?
Get More Out of Your Workouts
Plyometrics emphasizes rapidly loading and contracting muscles, making it the perfect complement to a strength or speed program. If you're trying to sprint faster or get past a weightlifting plateau, try combining your strength or speed workout with plyometrics.
Take It Anywhere
The most appealing aspect of plyometrics for many athletes is its low barrier to entry. You don't need a room full of expensive equipment. In fact, a grass field is a perfect place to start. You can expand your workout with cones, boxes and medicine balls, but these items of equipment can be taken almost anywhere, and the cost a fraction of what you'd pay for traditional strength training equipment. Finally, since only 30 minutes or so are required to reap the full benefits of plyometrics, you can easily fit a plyo session into your busy schedule.
Ready to get started? Like any training program, it's important to start with the basics before working up to more complex, explosive drills. Consult your strength and conditioning coach to help you carry out these exercises correctly.
Here are three plyometric workouts to get you started:
Wray Watkins is the director of strength and conditioning at MVP Sports Centers in Lake Forest, Calif. He has worked with athletes from the NFL, MLB and MLS, as well as several Olympic Gold Medalists. Watkins also runs an international internship program through MVP. He received his bachelor's degree in kinesiology from San Diego State University in 2002.
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