Very Informative Article on Plyometric Training

I found this article by Juan Carlos Santana, MEd, CSCS very useful. It was published on the Sharkfitness blog and is called “Plyometric Training: What It Is and What It Is Not.”

Here’s a small exerpt:

“As a performance enhancement consultant, it has been my experience that “plyometric” training is one of the most requested forms of training by athletes.  All have heard the stories of great power development accredited to this method of training.  To add to the mystery, plyometrics originated as a training method in the secretive eastern block countries where it was referred to as “jump training”.  As the eastern block countries rose to become powerhouses in sports, plyometric training was credited for much of their success.  In the 1920s, the sport of track and field was the first to employ a systematic method of using plyometric-training methods.  By the 1970s this methods of power development was being used by other sports that required explosive power for successful competition.”

After reading it I realized that I am going to have to be more careful throwing around the term ‘plyometric’.

Find the whole article here.

Enjoy.

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2 responses to “Very Informative Article on Plyometric Training

  1. Adam says, Seriously, I am not Mr. Karate.

    Just so you know, JC Santana is one of the top fitness trainers in MMA today- and produces some of the best fitness instructionals on the market that are out there. He has produced videos with Judo Olympian Rhadi Ferguson

    http://home.att.net/~erik.mann/santana.htm

    http://www.intocombat.com/store/index.php?CategoryID=32

    Here is Jeff Monson, UFC fighter, training with JC Santana’s methods.

    I also recommend Matt Furey, Parisi Speed School, Scott Sonnon, and Martin Rooney’s Training for Warriors DVD.

  2. Gillian Russell

    I’m all for high-quality plyometric training, but this is just wrong:

    Therefore, a jump (i.e. from an athletic position) onto a 24-inch box is a power exercise, but not a plyometric exercise.

    The author is distinguishing between power production that makes use of the myotatic reflex (plyometric), and power production that doesn’t (non-plyometric). But even non-athletes instinctively bend their knees quickly before performing a standing jump, and thereby load the hamstrings quickly as they are lengthened (eccentric contraction) and exploit the myotatic reflex. So the standing jump is a plyometric power activity. The load might not be as intense as it would be if the person had performed a prior jump right before the main jump, or had dropped 0.8 meters from a box before jumping, but it’s still plyometric and is considered such in the literature on plyometric training.

    For example, Chu’s book Jumping into Plyometrics (1998) lists six main categories of lower body-plyometric training as: i) jumps-in-place, ii) standing jumps, iii) multiple hops and jumps iv) bounding, v) box drills and, of course, vi) depth jumps.

    The distinction the author of the article is making is quite legitimate, but for a clearer example I think it would be better to look at the power-clean. The power clean is a genuine power activity in that it is not just the work done that matters, but work done quickly (power is work/time) – you can’t do a power clean slowly. But it is a power activity that doesn’t make use of the myotatic reflex – the bar is pulled off the ground and then the lifter quickly straightens their legs to explode or “jump”, thereby raising the bar from the hang position on the thighs to the “rack” (on the anterior part of the shoulders.) Since the bar is “pulled” from the ground before the jump, there’s no space for a loading countermovement to proceed the jump. Hence you have a power activity that doesn’t exploit the stretch-shortening cycle.

    Power clean:


    Standing jump with preceding countermovement:


    It is possible to do a standing jump without the preceding speedy counter-movement — the easiest way is to bend your knees and then STOP there for a few seconds before jumping (and perhaps this is what the author was trying to suggest with the phrase “from an athletic position”?) but the fact remains that the passage is misleading: ordinary standing jumps are true blue plyometrics (whereas running, which the author also describes as plyometric, might involve the use of the stretch reflex, but no athlete going out for a 6-mile run would describe themselves as doing plyometric training, or expect to get the benefits of a standard plyometric program from it.)

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