Plyometrics is the definitive method of increasing your vertical jump and overall athletic ability.
You can read a lot of information online telling you that plyometrics is the answer and how to perform the exercises.
However, unless you truly understand the goal of plyometrics you will not be able to make the most out of your training.
Understanding Plyometric Method
Plyometrics are a relatively new training concept, but this does not mean it is not an effective way to train. Plyometric training is a series of movements that tighten certain muscle tissue.
At the same time, it trains the nerves to deliver a specific pattern of muscle contractions to generate deliver the most strength in the least amount of time.
This muscle contraction is the center of plyometric movement. It is typically broken down into three phases. The first phase, or eccentric phase, is the rapid muscle lengthening movement.
Then, there is a momentary resting period known as the amortization phase where potential energy builds.
Finally, the contraction ends with an explosive muscle shortening during the concentric phase where all the muscles work together to deliver the desired motion.
In plyometrics, you are training your myostatic reflex. This reflex is how the automatic contraction of your muscles occurs when the stretch sensory receptors are engaged.
It is important to note that this does not train the muscle to maximize strength, it trains the muscle to react reflexively with the most strength possible.
Plyometrics also trains the tendons and all other supportive tissue to respond simultaneously with this contraction. In laymen’s terms, you are training the muscle to contract and deliver the most explosive output before you even consciously think about it.
The Physics of The Training
A muscle’s ability is measured by how long it takes your strength to be transformed into speed. People can be very muscular, but they lack athletic power because they cannot convert their strength into speed in a short time.
They may be able to lift 300 pounds for more than a minute, but they cannot do an 11 or 12 second 100 meter sprint.
On the other hand, someone who could never hold 200 pounds for 30 seconds can still get a maximum vertical jump force output that is several inches over their counterpart.
During the concentric phase of the plyometric movement, there is a limit to the amount of force with which the muscle can contact. If the muscle is loaded while it is being lengthened it will increase the storage of potential, elastic energy.
This elastic energy, when released, will produce the powerful “snapping” reaction that is similar to a rubber band that is stretched to its limits and then released.
This elastic energy fades quickly. Therefore the contraction must occur immediately after the eccentric stretch. This movement is called the “stretch shortening cycle” which is an essential of plyometric vertical jumping exercises.
Of course, there is also a “brain training” portion to plyometrics. The stretch shortening cycle involves thousands of nerve reactions that must move the muscles, tendons, and bones.
Reflexes must be quickened both physically and mentally. This is why plyometrics uniquely applies repetitive actions to train reaction time but balances the intensity and volume to prevent too much strength gain.
Now It Is Time to Commit
Now that you know a lot more about the principles and physiques behind plyometrics, you may be able to see why they are so beneficial. There simply is no better method for reaching the explosive power you need.
Once you commit to a plyometric program, you will finally get the vertical jump you have always wanted.