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Plyometrics is an advanced training technique which trains the muscles to quickly generate explosive power. Plyometric exercises are included in the training programs designed for athletes such as runners and boxers. These should be performed under the supervision of individuals who have good strength, balance, and flexibility levels.

Plyometrics traces its origin to Russia, where the Olympic Team used this almost 40 years ago. Dr. Yuri Verkhoshansky is considered as the person who created this technique. Coming from the Latin words “plyo” and “metrics”, Plyometrics literally means “measurable increases”. In Russia, this was first known as “shock training”.

Plyometrics works on this simple formula: strength and velocity equals power. Therefore, Plyometrics focuses on overall power rather than just strength or speed. You may wonder how muscles can quickly generate explosive power. This can be understood by knowing a few essential facts about muscular functioning.

Contraction of the muscles allows movements of the different parts of the body. However, there is a certain amount of power that would enable the muscles to contract. This is called concentric contraction. On the other hand, eccentric contraction happens if the muscle is stretched before it contracts.

This results to more power produced by the muscles. Extra power comes from the potential power the muscle gained when it gets stretched. This potential energy does not last long, so the muscles should act quickly. Referred to as the stretch shortening cycle, this action is the causal means of Plyometric training.

Generally, Plyometrics involves workouts on rapid stretches, muscle shortening, and developing power. Plyometric exercises include leg hops, box jumps, and clap push ups, and other impact movements that decelerate rapidly before the end of a repetition. Plyometric apparatus are also used such as medicine balls and Indian clubs.

Surface areas, where Plyometrics exercises are performed, should be soft to a certain degree. These include gymnastic mats and grass, or surfaces which can cushion a hard fall. Hard surfaces, such as concrete are not recommended. These can only increase the risk of injury. Footwear, moreover, should protect the athlete’s feet during impact.

Warm-up exercises are important before each practice. This is because Plyometric exercises can be highly intense. Individuals under the age of 13 are advised to take low-intense exercises. These should also apply to individuals who weigh over 240 pounds. Moreover, they should all undergo proper instruction before every exercise.

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