COMMON PLYOMETRIC MISTAKES
Seeing videos of people do advance plyometric movements and then implementing it into your training regimen right away without any thought can be counter-productive. Before trying out really advance plyometric exercises, you must understand the basic concept of true plyometrics.
WHAT IS PLYOMETRIC?
Simply, plyometrics is a method that focuses on the stretch reflex of muscles via jumping, bounding, and other explosive movements. It teaches you how to exert maximal amount of force in a SHORT amount of time. It’s a great way for athletes to build explosive power.
A true definition of plyometric is rapid stretch of a muscle (eccentric action) that is immediately followed by a powerful and fast shortening of the same muscle and connective tissue (concentric action). The shortening of the muscle uses the stored elastic energy (also called the STRETCH SHORTENING CYCLE) to produce a greater force in comparison to a concentric action alone.
Research studies show that by adding plyometrics into your strength training program, it can improve your vertical jump, acceleration, muscular power, leg strength, and overall proprioception.
However, here are the common mistakes that coaches/athletes make when implementing plyometrics:
MAKING PLYOMETRICS INTO CONDITIONING
The goal of plyometrics is to help you become more explosive. You can’t be explosive when you’re tired (this usually results in sloppy jumping mechanics = higher injury risk). The focus should be placed on quality reps, maximum effort, full intent, and being fully recovered to work at your full potential.
NOT APPLYING THE CONCEPT OF PLYOMETRIC
The purpose of plyometrics is to take advantage of the stretch shortening cycle. Plyometrics movements aren’t done in slow motion, it’s fast action.
DOING TOO MUCH PLYOMETRICS
Plyometric training can be very taxing because of the maximum effort and intensity. You should place enough recovery between each set and sessions.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
One of the solution is to PAY ATTENTION TO PROGRAM DESIGN. The coach/athlete should have a purpose when choosing plyometric movements and prescribing different variables (sets, reps, intensity, etc). It is important to remember that plyometrics is used for developing power. The focus should be on the quality and speed of the movement, and to use proper progressions/regressions based on observations.
MASTER THE BASICS
Another solution is to go back to the basic fundamentals. It is established that the amortization phase – the transition time between the stretch and shortening of the muscle – is the most important phase. Ensuring that the athlete can correctly get into proper body position so that they can efficiently and properly perform plyometric movements.
It all starts with having good positioning, posture, and balance before and after the jump. This will play a key role in how well they can absorb and produce force. A lack of proper mechanics can result into loss of power and increase potential on non-contact injury.
By understanding the science, the better we can take advantage of the many benefits of true plyometrics. The goal is to apply OPTIMAL load of stress, enough recovery time, and design the program that maximizes the training effect.