While most people probably think plyometrics are only for athletes like basketball and volleyball players, there is a real-world application for including plyos in a regular program as well.
Plyometrics are a type of training that uses very quick muscular contractions designed to develop and increase muscular power.
In sports, plyos are a great way to increase performance by developing strength and power specific to an athlete’s sport. Using the example above, basketball and volleyball players use plyometrics to increase their power so they jump higher. Football players will use both lower body plyos for speed development, jumping ability and upper body plyos to help with shedding and making blocks.
So considering this, why would it be useful for the average guy to include plyos in their training?
Well, first, plyos help develop power. And power is much more useful in any type of daily physical activity than any other fitness component. When you move anything, power is required to get it done. What’s more, it’s power that lets you get more work done in a shorter amount of time. That’ll sure come in handy on those Saturday chore days!
Even more, developing power will in turn help you be able to lift more weight, increasing your strength — more strength, means more muscle. Bigger muscles allows you to develop more strength, and more strength gives you the ability to develop more power. So really, it becomes a cycle, leading to great benefits for you.
Second, pylos have been proven to increase Type II muscle fiber size(1). Those are the muscle fibers that help you build muscle and are your strength and power muscle fibers. This means that plyos will give you more benefit for your effort. Not only will plyos make you more powerful, they’ll help you get bigger as well.
Third, they help you become faster, quicker, and more agile (on top of being more powerful). Any guy that still plays any kind of pick up game and has that competitive edge will love this. Imagine being out on the field or court, and running circles around those younger guys. I mean, c’mon, no matter how old we get, us guys like reliving those glory days. Plyos will help.
Fourth, plyos are a great alternative to the Olympic lifts like power cleans. The Olympic lifts are very technical, and take a while to develop the proper technique. There are great benefits in doing the O-lifts, and for people that haven’t yet got the right technique to do them regularly, plyos are a great substitute.
Last, they’re just fun to do. Admit it, that little kid in you loves jumping around and moving in crazy ways. No I’m not saying you should be moving in crazy ways doing plyos, but the movement patterns are probably like those you haven’t done in years.
As a bonus, it helps add variety to your training, and just might give you another goal to work towards.
So give plyos a try. And studies show that it only takes 1 session per week for the average guy to get great results(2).
And stay tuned for some sample plyo workouts here at AthleticWorkouts.com.
1. Potteiger, J.A., et al. Muscle power and fiber characteristics following 8 weeks of plyometric training. J. Strength and Cond. Res. 13(3):275-279. 1999.
2. de Villarreal, ES., et al. Low and moderate plyometric training frequency produces greater jumping and sprinting gains compared with high frequency. J. Strength and Cond. Res. 22(3):715-725. 2008.
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