Found in varying degrees of the majority of all athletic movements, speed and strength are essential components of fitness. The combination of speed and strength results in power. In order to enhance fitness and performance, coaches and athletes have sought to improve power for many years.
To achieve this power, throughout this century and for many years previously exercises such as jumping, bounding and hopping have been used in a variety of ways to enhance and improve athletic performance. In more recent years, this particular method of training adapted for explosiveness and power alike has been termed plyometrics.
This is based on the understanding that a concentric muscular contraction is stronger if it immediately follows an irregular contraction of the same muscle.
A plyometric exercise comprises of three phases:
During a rapid eccentric contraction the maximum force that a muscle can develop is attained. However, it should be understood that during athletic movements, muscles rarely perform one type of contraction in isolation. When a concentric contraction occurs, this is when a muscle shortens, and is immediately followed by an eccentric contraction, this is when the muscle lengthens, and as a result the force generated can be dramatically increased.
If a muscle is stretched, most of the energy required to stretch it is lost as heat. On the other hand, some of this energy can be stored through the elastic components in the muscle. Only during a subsequent contraction, the stored energy becomes available to the muscle. If the eccentric contraction is not immediately followed by a concentric contraction then this energy boost is lost. The muscle must contract in the shortest time possible to express this greater force. This process is often called the stretch shortening cycle and is the underlying mechanism of plyometric training.
Find examples below that specifically incorporate a Plyo box similar to :
This high intensity exercise of box jumps can be carried out with 6 different 40-100cm boxes.
Another high intensity exercise of depth jumps requires a 40-100cm box.
A variety of drills can be used to make the upper body more explosive, as shown below:
Press Ups & Hand Clap
Press-ups with a hand clap in between is a particularly vigorous way which helps to condition the arms and chest. As the hands arrive on the ground and the chest sinks, the pre-stretch takes place, which is then quickly followed by the explosive upwards action. Similar to other exercises, to get the best training effect it is advised to keep the time in contact with the ground to a minimum.
Using a medicine ball is another high-intensity exercise and should only be used following some basic conditioning. Increasing upper body strength, particularly popular with throwers is to lie on the ground face up. A partner then drops the medicine ball down towards the athlete’s chest, who catches the ball in the eccentric phase and then immediately throws it back in the concentric phase.