Plyometric Exercises – The Key to Explosive Power
Many people have never heard the word “plyometrics” used before, even some athletes. Plyometrics are exercises designed to increase explosive power and quickness. These kinds of exercises are especially important for athletes such as basketball, football, and soccer players. However, plyometrics can be useful when applied to any sport since speed, explosiveness, and quickness all apply to just about every sport.
The key area of the body that plyometric workouts target is actually the nervous system. In order for all of your limbs and muscles to work in conjunction and in an efficient manner, your brain-to-muscle connection must be in top shape. This is where plyometric workouts come in to play.
Plyometrics often focus on repetitive movements, such as jumping and sprinting, that are performed in sets of high reps. Think of plyometrics as training your muscles to do a certain task more efficiently. Riding a bike is a good example of this. You train your muscles to work together in a certain way so that your body balances on the bike. Plyometrics work the same way, but the difference is that you’re training your body to do things like run, jump, kick, etc.
The best rep range for these kinds of workouts is usually somewhere between 75-100. Going above this range will often cause a loss of good form. For those of you who are experienced trainers, you know that quality is always preferred over quantity.
Why Use Plyometrics?
I like to use a metaphorical example to explain why plyometric exercises are so important to athletes. Let’s look at a sports car for a second. We’ll pretend like the parts of the sports car correspond to parts of the body. The engine of the car is like the muscle, and the drive shaft is like the nervous system (it distributes control and power to the wheels/body).
Now, if we’ve got a sports car with a powerful engine, that’s fantastic. However, if there’s no drive shaft we won’t have a way to get the power to the wheels. You build muscle (engine) by lifting weights in the gym. This increases overall strength and power potential. In order to put that power and strength to use, you need to implement plyometric training at some point during your training. Without it, your body will be severely lacking in it’s ability to utilize the great strength that you’ve built in the gym.
The following is a breakdown of some exercises you can do to improve your speed, power and overall explosiveness. Click on the links to get a better explanation of each exercise.
Lower Body Plyometric Exercises
- Box Jumps
- Ankle Bounces
- Standing Broad Jump
- Multilple Box Jumps
- Scissor Jumps
- Zig Zag Hops
- Double Leg Seated Jump
- Single Leg Seated Jump
- Single Leg Bounding
- High Box Depth Jumps
- Alternating Lunge Jumps
- Rim Jumps
Upper Body Plyometrics (more coming soon!)
Plyometric Exercise Articles
This site contains a large list of plyometric exercises that can be performed to enhance your overall explosiveness, speed, agility, and athleticism. Simply click this link (plyometric exercises) to see the plyometric exercise category. Each exercise that you click on will have an easy to understand description and some will have videos as well.
Please be sure to check back to this site on a regular basis to see the updates that have been made to the plyometric exercise database. You can subscribe to the RSS feed if you want to be notified when this site is updated with new information. Updates will be made almost daily until we run out of ideas for exercises. (= Hopefully that won’t be any time soon. For now, check out what we have to offer on the main plyometric articles page.