Plyometric Exercises & Explosive Power
Peter Petrou fitness is a Sydney based personal training company that is based in both Rydalmere and North Strathfield. My approach to training combined with my desire to provide my clients with affordable personal training that is still of the highest quality available led to Peter Petrou fitness being named as one of the top three personal training companies in Sydney in 2011. As well as providing top quality personal training I want to try to help educate people by providing them with professional exercise advice.
No one can deny that no other exercise will help develop explosive power like the Olympic Snatch. A fact that has been documented for years and has led to countless written articles and documentaries! A group of exercises though that have been specifically created to help athletes develop maximum power with little or no equipment at all and are still widely unknown are Plyometrics.
Firstly and I can’t stress this enough, before adding any Plyometric exercises to your workout routine you should make sure you have built a good base of strength with general lower body strength training and running specific strength training.
Plyometrics are exercises in which your muscles develop the maximum amount of power possible by working against your body’s inverse stretch reflex. They are dynamic exercises that use bounds, leaps and jumps to rapidly stretch a muscle (the eccentric phase of an exercise) and then rapidly shorten it (the concentric phase of an exercise) and increase your explosive power. Due to this stretching and shortening process they increase the amount of your bodies fast twitch fibres.
Very basically and I only intend to go through this very basically as a) I don’t want to get to technical and confusing and b) I just want to be able to put my point across about Plyometric exercises and explosive power.
Muscle tissue is made up of different fibre types.
These fibres are known as fast and slow twitch fibres, there are different variations of each but as I want to keep things simple I will only be referring to them as either fast or slow twitch fibres and neither of its variations.
Slow twitch fibres have a lighter stimulus and become activated during endurance activities. These muscle fibres cannot develop as much power as there counterpart.
Fast twitch fibres on the other hand are more explosive type muscle fibres and are characterized by a quick response to a strong stimulus. They have a high capability for anaerobic metabolism and are the muscle fibre type engaged when power or speed is required.
Exercises that assist you in building explosive power are exercises that help you to develop fast twitch fibres.
Due to the dynamic action of all Plyometric exercises by regularly implementing Plyometrics into your training program you will dramatically increase your bodies amount of fast twitch fibres.
Common plyometric exercises are box jumps, squat jumps, clap push ups and one of my favourite upper body plyometric exercises is done by laying in a push up position and placing one had on a BOSU ball with the other hand on the floor. Do a push-up with a clap whilst alternating which hand lands on the BOSU ball.
Some basic examples of some simple plyometric exercises are:
- Box Jumps- where you step off a raised platform and ensuring there is no resistance as you land, drop down as far as possible (so that your bum almost touches the floor) and then as you reach the bottom of the drop explode straight up as if you are jumping and trying to touch the ceiling.
- Squat Jumps- Ensuring there is no resistance at all on the downward motion drop down into a deep squat (so that your bum is almost touching the floor) and then as you reach the bottom of the drop explode straight up as if you are jumping and trying to touch the ceiling.
- Clap push ups- With no resistance on the downward motion of the push up drop down so that your chest is almost touching the floor and then explode up so that your hands leave the floor. Clap your hands together and repeat.
Plyometrics are exercises that require your muscles to reach peak force in a very short amount of time. Because of this fact and the way they are performed they will improve your speed, power and running economy.
They are also a great, intense, short and sharp workout in which you are always guaranteed results.
Due to the fact that you are working against your bodies inverse stretch reflex and the fact that Plyometric exercises drastically increase the amount of fast twitch fibres in your body by first causing thousands of micro tears in your muscle tissue. A reason why if done correctly you will always be sore after doing plyometrics. This is also one of the reasons why I believe plyometrics are only to be done by experienced exercisers and why it is vitally important to finish each workout by adequately stretching each of the target muscles.
Peter Petrou fitness Pty Ltd
Remember: it’s easy to get fit, it’s just hard work