At Steelworks, we love all sorts of hopping, bounding, jumping, and skipping. In short, we love plyometrics!
Plyometrics are great tools for teaching both contractile (muscles) and non-contractile (tendons, fascia, ligaments, even bone!) tissues how to manipulate the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC)
The SSC occurs when the aforementioned tissues incur tension in an eccentric orientation (think lengthening) right before a concentric (think shortening) contraction. The rapid eccentric loading of the tissues stores passive elastic energy that can then be applied in a concentric orientation resulting in a quicker and higher production of force compared to simple muscular contraction.
This skill is essential for any athlete involved in a sport that requires jumping and sprinting.
But what about us every day people? How can plyometrics benefit you if you are looking to just feel good in your body?
- We need to play more as adults.
- Plyometrics can be done anywhere. No fancy equipment needed. Jumping and skipping invokes a child-like element of play and exploration that many grown ups haven’t experienced for a long time.
- Complex movements require expressing skilled patterns together throughout the entire body.
- Jumps of all kinds teach the body how to coordinate core and extremities quickly.
- Moving rapidly involves the interplay between tension and relaxation.
- Given that high loads of force must be absorbed and redirected quickly during plyometric training, the body must be taught how to create stiffness and then let go of that tension just as quickly. Weight training alone creates an athlete who is constantly thinking about compression and bracing. A healthy body must not only know how to create tension but also be able to move to expansion and relaxation.
The drill featured in the video shows our 5 Point Agility Drill, one of the many plyometric tools we employ here at Steelworks Strength Systems. Pretty simple: get 5 poker chips or cards or any easy target to jump to. Try and move the body on one leg to each target without pausing during the entire cycle. Super simple, but super challenging!
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