What are the benefits of Plyometrics?
The goal is to train for maximum force production in the smallest period of time, so reps are kept low and the intensity and effort is high. To train explosiveness, you have to perform each movement as explosively as you possibly can. That means leaving the ground.
How do plyometric build muscle?
The body’s muscular system is made up of fast- and slow-twitch muscle fibres. The fast-twitch fibres are the largest, strongest fibre’s in our body. They are trained through heavy lifting, anaerobic efforts, and explosive movements. This is contrary to their slow-twitch counterparts, which are typically geared toward endurance, and aren’t as high in absolute strength. Plyometric training focuses on increasing the strength and efficiency of the fast-twitch fibres. Translating this to the weight room for your heavy sets means greater involvement of your muscles’ strongest fibres for your lifts, which results in speed and strength gains.
How do I use plyometrics in my training?
- Infuse them into your workout. At the beginning or end of workouts, add a “plyometrics” section by making a miniature workout that comprises only plyometrics. I keep the rep ranges low so technique can be emphasised.
- Use contrast sets. If you want to trick your muscles into over-firing, I use contrast sets by doing a weighted regular lifting set in the gym, and immediately following it up with the same movement, plyometrics-style and unloaded, for the same number or reps (for example, KB back squats for a 10-rep max, followed by unloaded jump squats for 10 jumps). During the jump squats, the muscles of the legs will still fire as though they have your 10-rep max on your back.
- Substitute a HIIT day with a plyometric workout. The intense effort will yield plenty of metabolic stress and aid in the pursuit of fat loss. To keep your heart rate up, focus on less than 90 seconds rest between sets of work.