Performance is a relative term. For some, performance is based on the weight that is moved. For others, it is how fast one can run or how high they can jump. Performance is used interchangeably throughout sports and fitness.
Athletes alike look to run faster, jump higher, and get stronger all at the same time. Balance is key in training so well-rounded training is the focus.
Nothing is as well rounded when it comes to performance as plyometric training, also known as “jump training” or “plyos”.
Plyometric training is based around increasing power. Now, power is different than strength. Strength is a component all by itself, like speed. But what happens when one focuses not only on strength and speed? This is where power comes into play. How fast can you go while being as strong as possible? Plyos trains the muscles by putting maximum exertion on them in short intervals. This kind of training is great for increasing vertical jump, first step, back pedaling, side stepping, increasing hand/eye coordination as well. Basically, plyos helps with making the body a well-rounded, powerful, performing machine.
Here are some effective plyometric training exercises (Google or YouTube them to get a visual):
- Jumping rope
- Jump squats
- Clap push-ups
- Front Box Jump
- Lateral Box Jump
- Skater Jumps
- Dot Drill
These are just a few of many different plyometric exercises out there. It must be noted that plyometric training needs to be carefully done and slowly worked into. Doing too much in too little of time, especially if the body is not used to it can result in serious injury due to the maximum exertion being put on the body in short bursts. Plyometric workouts can be performed anywhere from 1-3 days per week. High intensity, low volume plyometric workouts, should be performed 1-2 times per week by well- conditioned athletes only, ideally on the same day as weight training.
So, looking to get a quicker first step, faster 40-yard dash, higher vertical, or just a change up in your workout? Give plyometric training a try. It is very easy to get stuck into a routine and get bored with a workout. Plyometric training as noted is perfectly fine (and recommended) to incorporate with a current weight lifting routine. Be cautious, be smart, listen to your body.
Who wants to be known for being all buff and no stuff anyways?