By Kim Duke, NETA & AFAA Certified Trainer
Most of my clients have a desired goal of developing a sculpted body. Not too bulky, just lean and fit. They have come to me since they want a clear way to achieve this goal. I provide them with strength training to build their muscles, and with many of them we train aerobically and anaerobically with light to intense jumping-based exercises.
Commonly known as jump training, plyometrics (or plyos) train tissues to fire more explosively.
“Plyos are exercises that emphasize the elastic components of muscles and tendons to facilitate explosive movements,” says Justin Smith, co-director of Athletic Performance at the University of Vermont. “Developing coordination, balance, power, body control and reactivity – all of these can be gained through even the most basic plyometric exercises.”
Think of your muscles like springs. When you add force and compress the coil shape, it absorbs your potential energy. Remove the force and the energy is released, allowing the spring to return to its normal shape, but in a quick, explosive manner. Your muscles work the same way. The connective tissues store elastic energy during the loading phase, such as a squat, and then give you the power to jump as that energy is released.
Athletes rely on plyometric-based training to jump higher, be lightning fast on their feet and optimize total athletic performance. But, that does not mean jumping is just for those in the game.
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