What Are Plyometrics?

What are plyometrics? Find out what they are and how they can help you add strength and power to your body!

Check with your doctor before you start plyometrics.

Plyometrics can be defined as a series of exercises that stretches the muscles of the human body like a rubber band, then contracts them quickly. This type of exercise is used by Olympic competitors in order to add power as well as speed to their bodies so they can excel even further in their chosen events. Plyometrics is known to actually reduce the time it takes for a muscle in the human body to contract. The less time it takes means that the muscle can exert a greater amount of power and force.

Even though plyometrics have been used by Olympians for some time now, they are a relatively new workout for the everyday athlete. Experts have a few cautions though, for persons who are considering using plyometrics for the first time. First, persons need to make sure they are physically fit enough to do the work outs without injuring their bodies. Plyometrics tend to cause a great deal of stress on bones and joints, as well as on muscles.Second, as with any other exercise program, everyday athletes should start out doing basic plyometric exercises. They shouldn't try to start in at an advanced level. Third, as with any other exercise program, everyday athletes should always properly warm up before doing plyometrics. Being properly warmed up prior to this particular kind of work out means that you need to give special attention to jogging and stretching. When stretching, work especially on all of the joints and muscles that you are going to concentrate your exercise routine on. Of course, will all forms of exercise, a cool down period should follow each work out.

Plyometrics should be performed on a firm, but cushioned exercise mat in order to give your body the maximum amount of protection. They may be performed on a grassy area too. Never work out using plyometric exercises on a concrete or other hard surface as this could cause considerable damamge to your muscles, joints, and bones. Always wear good, supportive athletic shoes too.

Some types of plyometrics may sound like child's play, but they are considered to be serious business and should be done correctly. They range from simple hopping on one foot back and forth over a rope to using a medicine ball to a maneuver called jump squats, and beyond, in complexity. One way a medicine ball can be used to help strengthen the upper body is for a person to lie down on their back. The ball is then dropped on the person who is lying on the ground. That person immediately throws the ball back.

Jump squats are performed by doing a regular squat with added weights. However, you actually jump one or two inches off of the ground at the top of the motion. This is considered to be a very dangerous plyometric exercise and should be done only with the proper guidance.

To learn more about plyometrics and how they can help you increase your strength and power, you can purchase books as well as training videos on the subject. Or, if you already have a personal trainer, ask him or her about how plyometric exercises can substantially aid you in your work out efforts so you can improve your strength and speed!

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