The Running Doctor: Plyometrics
Plyometrics teaches rapid deceleration as well as acceleration for quickness and change of direction. It becomes a means of training the neuromuscular system. As the body is training using this method, muscles shorten by utilizing concentric contraction.
This is followed by rapid eccentric contraction or a lengthening of muscle. The end result is a dramatic increase in strength and power. This training technique was designed for Olympic athletes.
Plyometrics improves power in the form of strength and speed by working the fast twitch fibers. It effectuates quickness, speed and jumping ability. Some examples are utilizing single leg squats, jump roping, medicine ball catch followed by rapid throw back. Additionally, press ups and hand claps. It should be combined with the proper weight training program. The plyometrics training bridges the gap between pure strength training and the skill used by athletes in their particular competition and position in sport activity. Using this method, there is an increase in the reactive power in one's respective event. It is a training technique that increases explosive power. It accelerates the relationship between maximum strength and explosive power.
In beginning of the plyometrics training program, one may utilize strength training of leg extension muscles with barbells and other resistive exercises. As a beginner, one should participate in a slow, progressive program for the lower extremity, slowly adapting to the more advance drills.
Again, it is important to understand that each exercise and to walk through the exercise before performing it. Always develop proper technique from the start to finish. Allow 4-5 minutes of rest between each set of plyometrics. Stop exercise if you start to break down and do not go from one exercise to another without proper recovery. The plyometric theory increases the athlete's ability between strength and speed training for a more explosive power performance in their event.
Dr. Robert F. Weiss is a podiatrist specializing in foot and ankle surgery. He was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials. Weiss is a veteran of 35 marathons and has a practice in Darien: The Foot & Ankle Institute of Darien. For more information, visit www.therunningdoctor.net.