2.1 Plyometric Training Concepts

  • Plyometrics involve greater motor unit muscle recruitment to propel the athlete vertically or linearly at the highest velocity possible. By using this type of training properly, improved physical performance can be seen over time.
  • The true purpose of plyometric training is to decrease the ground contact time of an athlete while sprinting or jumping.
  • Research tells us that elite athletes spend less time during ground contact, yet they impart the same amount or more force/power off the ground than their less skilled counterparts.
  • Ground contact time can simply be seen as the amount of time that elapses while the beginning of the eccentric contraction of the absorbing legs muscle group occurs and then reversed to the end of the concentric contraction of that group.
  • This contact phase is commonly known in the literature as the amortization phase. This phase of movement is where the plyometric activities are focused.
  • Newton’s third law of physics states, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Parisi uses this law to guide some of its multidirectional training, as it applies to many progressions often seen in reaction drills.
  • Before a plyometric training workout, the athlete should first warm up with the Active Dynamic Warm Up procedure.
  • Recovery between workouts should be 48 to 72 hours, which would dictate about 2 plyometric workouts per week.
  • Plyometric volume is measured by the number of foot contacts performed per session. Individual foot contacts should be evaluated by ground contact intensity. Ground contact intensity is determined by the height the center of gravity travels off the ground and horizontal distance covered.

    An example is mini-hops in and out of an agility ladder. These types of jumps are considered lower intensity plyometrics compared to a higher obstacle such as hurdle jumps. Horizontal distance traveled during a jump or hop is another important intensity measurement. Short horizontal distances are considered low intensity plyometrics such as continuous short distance rudimentary horizontal mini-broad jumps.

    Horizontal broad jumps with longer distances of 3-10 feet would be considered high intensity.

    High intensity plyometrics such as huddle jumps, box jumps or long broad jumps, should limit workout contacts to 20-40 per session depending on the athletes age, level, body weight, and training history. Lower intensity plyometrics contacts volumes should be in the range 60-120 contacts and progress from beginners to more advanced. If both, low and high intensity contacts are utilized in the same sessions then performing 50% of each of the appropriate volumes for the athlete would be appropriate.