Plyometric exercises, also known as “jump training” or “plyos”, are explosive movements designed to increase strength, speed and power. These exercises require the muscles to exert maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal of increasing both muscle power and speed. Athletes in various sports use plyometrics to improve their performance, especially those where speed is a critical factor. Let’s explore the benefits of plyometrics and explore the best exercises that can increase your speed.
Amplify your speed with plyometric exercises
The power of plyometrics
Plyometrics relies on the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) – a natural muscle action that involves a rapid transition from stretching a muscle to contracting it. This sequence is essential to many athletic movements and contributes significantly to improved power output.
The explosive nature of plyometric exercises increases your neuromuscular efficiency, which means your muscles become more adept at working together for coordinated, explosive movement. Therefore, plyometrics can increase your speed and agility, improving your overall sports performance.
Speed boosters: the best plyometric exercises
Box jumps: Box jumps are a fundamental plyometric exercise that improves leg power and explosiveness. Stand in front of a sturdy box or raised platform. Bend into a half squat, swing your arms, and jump onto the box. Back up and repeat. This exercise targets the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calf muscles, all of which contribute to speed.
Deep jumps: Deep jumps are designed to react quickly to a jump stimulus, which develops power and speed. Stand on a box or platform, descend (don’t jump) and as soon as your feet touch the ground, explosively jump as high as you can, extending your arms skyward. Land softly and repeat.
Restriction: This exaggerated running form reinforces your natural gait while promoting an explosive stride. To pounce, push off with your left foot and bring your right knee as high as you can. Land on your right foot and repeat with the opposite side. The focus is on covering as much distance with each stride and as much height as possible.
Plyo pumps: Plyometric push-ups can help improve the speed of your arm strokes, which is crucial for maintaining momentum when running. Start in a traditional push-up position, lower your body to the floor, then push explosively so your hands leave the floor. Land softly and go straight to the next pump.
Squat Jumps: Squat jumps train your lower body and core muscles for explosive power, which translates into speed. Start in a squat position, explode upwards into a jump and gently land in a squat position. Repeat for several repetitions while maintaining the shape.
One-legged hop: Single-leg jumps can improve one-sided power, balance, and coordination, all essential for speed. Stand on one leg, slightly bend the knee and jump forward. Land softly on the same leg. After several repetitions, switch to the other leg.
Although speed plyometric exercises offer a myriad of benefits, it is essential to keep safety in mind. Always start with a thorough warm-up to prepare your muscles for the explosive activity that follows. Additionally, pay attention to the following:
Form and technique: Prioritize maintaining correct form and technique over speed or number of reps. Improper form can lead to injury and decrease exercise effectiveness.
Rest: Allow enough rest time between plyometric sessions. Your muscles need time to recover from these high intensity workouts.
progress: Start with simple exercises and gradually progress to more complex ones. Adding too much intensity too soon can increase the risk of injury.
Plyometric drills, which emphasize quick, explosive movements, are a great way to increase your speed. They target key muscles used in running and other speed-oriented sports, promoting muscle strength and power. By incorporating into your training programyou can take your speed to the next level.
Remember, safety is paramount. Be sure to warm up properly, maintain good form, and rest enough between workouts. With time, patience, and consistency, you’ll hit your speed goals before you know it.