Unlike traditional strength training exercises that involve long, slow movements, plyometric (aka “jump training”) exercises involve quick and explosive movements designed to increase your speed and power. A plyometric exercise consists of three phases: The first called the eccentric phase involves rapid muscle lengthening movement. The second contains a short resting period and is called the amortization phase. The last phase is called the concentric phase and involves explosive muscle shortening movements. You don’t have to be a high-performance athlete to incorporate plyometrics into your weekly routine. Here are a few of its benefits.
1. It helps to build muscle
The body’s muscular system is made up of fast and slow twitch muscle fibers. The fast-twitch fibers are the largest and strongest fibers in the body. Plyometrics training focuses on increasing the strength and efficiency of your body’s fast twitch fibers. This means greater involvement of your muscles’ strongest fibers when you’re lifting weights, which will result in strength gains over time.
2. It helps to strengthen your tendons
In order to increase the power and speed of muscular movements, you must also increase the strength of your tendons. Having stronger tendons will result in fewer fitness-related injuries. Plyometrics strengthen your tendons and boost their elasticity by putting constant stress on them in a controlled setting.
3. It helps to control your nervous system
Another important factor in increasing your power and speed is your nervous system. Every time you contract your muscles, a signal is sent from your brain to your muscles via your neuromuscular system. The more efficient your neuromuscular system is, the faster it can transmit this signal. Doing plyometrics can boost this efficiency. This means it can contract and relax your muscles faster, which in turn can increase your athletic speed and power.
4. It helps increase your metabolism
Adding plyometric training to your routine will increase your chances to burn huge amounts of calories and increase activity of your metabolic patterns by more than 50%. Jumping uses the full potential of all major groups of muscles and will lead to huge energy consumption.
5. It’s a time saver
This short and quick style of training suits anyone with a busy schedule. After 30 minutes of cardio, add a few sets of burpees, continue cardio for another 5 minutes and then repeat. You’ll be all set and done in an hour.
6. It’s convenient
One of the best things about plyometrics is that you can perform it anywhere. You don’t need fancy fitness equipment or a gym membership, you can do it in your background, in your basement or at a local park.
7. You can do it no matter what your fitness level
8. It gets your heart rate up
9. It will increase your coordination
If you consider yourself a bit of a klutz, plyometric training can really help. All the jumping and bounding around may feel awkward at first, but including it regularly as part of your workouts will help to make you much more at one with your body.
10. It helps strengthen your bones and joints
Any type of resistance training will help to build and maintain joint and bone health. Plyometrics are no exception. Including exercises like squats and tuck jumps into your workout routine will help to build healthy joints and bones for a lifetime.