By The One on One Team

This week, our Focus Point is “Plyometrics”.

Plyometrics, first made popular in Eastern Europe over 40 years ago, is a method of training designed to increase total body power. Squat jumps, bounding, drop jumps, and medicine ball throws are just a few examples of plyometric exercises.

Although plyometric training was originally intended for advanced athletes, it has many other appropriate applications. From running and jumping in athletic competition, to simply getting up out of a chair or pushing open a heavy door, power is an essential element of human movement. Plyometric training can also benefit those trying to change their body composition. It creates increased muscle fiber size leading to an increase in muscle mass, therefore raising your resting metabolic rate (much like traditional strength training).

Safety is an issue with plyometric training. Most of the exercises are explosive and can place incredible stress on the joints of the body. Performed with the wrong technique, these exercises can quickly result in injury. It is important to start “low and slow” (low amplitude jumps, hops or throws performed at slow controlled speeds) and gradually progress to higher, quicker jumps and throws.

As always, it is vital to maintain proper posture and alignment throughout each exercise. When jumping, land on the front two thirds of your feet with your knees lined up over your toes and your spine and pelvis in a neutral position. Think about landing softly; good jumping should be seen, not heard!

Finally, plyometric training can be a nice change of pace. If you aren’t doing any plyometrics already, ask your trainer if you can give it a try!

Copyright 2011 Fitness Consultants Inc. All rights reserved.