Step ups

Plyometrics or plyos, are exercises consisting of fast, powerful movements aimed at exerting maximum muscle force in the shortest time possible. Most strength training exercises involve long, slow movements, which are designed to increase muscle strength and mass.

Plyometrics on the other hand, involve quick, explosive movements, geared to increase power, agility and speed. The exercises usually involve a jumping movement such as skipping, jumping rope or jump squats. If performed properly and as part of a regular workout, these types of maneuvers can improve the way your nervous system works and increase muscle strength, power and speed.

Plyometric exercises involve rapid stretching then shortening of a muscle group during highly dynamic movements. The stretching causes a reflex and elastic recoil in muscles, which combined with a vigorous muscle contraction, creates a high force that overloads the muscles to increase strength and power. According to Elite Athletic Performance, plyometric exercises increase your metabolism so you burn more calories throughout the day and even during periods of rest. Since muscle maintenance needs more energy than fat maintenance, you burn more calories with each activity you do.

Plyometrics is used by many athletes, whether they’re trying to improve their basketball game or shave time off their run. It is also used during the final stages of rehabilitation, to train the muscles to handle the strain of eccentric contractions.

Some of the other benefits of plyometrics exercises include: muscle endurance, better body control, joint protection and a lowered risk of sustaining injuries.

Over the next three weeks we will focus on exercises to enhance the capacity for single, explosive movements such as jumping, throwing, hurling, smashing or driving a golf ball.

All of the exercises included are considered to be moderate to high impact. It is imperative to progress slowly. Start by doing these exercises two to three days a week. Do one to two sets of about three to four reps, building up to three sets of six to 10 reps. Be sure to perform each maneuver correctly and with intensity.