This fitness blog is a continuation of last week’s plyometric article. Advanced plyometric training is most commonly used by personal trainers when working with performance clients, for example sprinters and athletes competing in the long jump, high jump and triple jump.
Advanced plyometric training for sprinters
The initial 30 metres of a 100-metre sprint is known as the drive phase. At this stage, the athlete is aiming to produce enough power to accelerate to top velocity and so the time their feet remain in contact with the ground will be longer than when they are running at full speed. After 30 metres they will be looking to maintain the momentum they have reached. By developing a programme of advanced plyometric training, a sports instructor can help their client increase and maintain their speed.
Training programmes using advanced plyometrics
There are a variety of ways of using advanced plyometrics as part of a training programme. A progression from squat thrusts might be for the client to jump on to a box to develop concentric muscle contractions and then step off the box to develop eccentric muscle contractions. This would also help with the client’s starting and landing technique. From there they could progress to jumping and landing on the spot.
A more technical jump that a personal trainer could introduce into a session would be a depth jump, which involves stepping off a box then jumping over a hurdle. The height of the box can be increased over time, depending on the client’s ability to progress, as can the height of the hurdle they jump over. This exercise develops plyometric ability, increasing power in both legs and helping a client to jump higher.
Single-leg plyometric training
Single-leg plyometric training usually involves hopping forward. This can be measured over a number of hops, for example, the distance a client can cover in three hops, and then monitored over time to assess improvement. By increasing the number of hops measured, for example from three hops to four, a sports instructor can assess both the client’s power and, ultimately, their endurance.
These kinds of advanced plyometric exercises are intended to promote power within the muscles. As these exercises work the ankles, knees and hips, they strengthen both the muscles holding the ankle, knee and hip in position but also the tendons around the muscle.
This develops a spring-like movement known as athletic stiffness, which allows an athlete to bounce off their tendons to move themselves forward, instead of relying on muscular contractions. This is where advanced plyometric training really comes into its own, allowing sprinters, hurdlers, triple jumpers and other athletes to transfer downward force into power for forward and upward movement.
These advanced plyometric training techniques can be used by fitness instructors working with clients in many other sports, for example football, rubgy and basketball.