So what exactly do plyometrics do?
Plyometrics train your central nervous system to maximize your vertical leap, AND enhance the elastic properties of your muscles and tendons.
You may have seen this video already but watch it to get a review of how plyometric training works:
Correct plyometrics in a nutshell will train your muscles and tendons to become more elastic, which means faster contraction. Your central nervous system will also be trained to contract faster following an eccentric contraction. You will jump higher if you do correct plyometrics, guaranteed.
1. Overtraining (which I also call under-recovery). As with all training methods. training causes a stress on your body which causes your body to compensate. This compensation usually involves repairing and strengthening tissue, as well as recovery from energy loss. Overtraining is when you do not allow the effects of your training to take place. Instead you continue to break down your muscles and systems only becoming weaker and weaker.
You must allow your body to recover and “super- compensate” from your training or you will NEVER reap the benefits of your hard work.
- I would not recommend training plyometrics more than 1 – 3 times per week. Most of you will be in the 1 – 2 range.
- Listen to your body and track your performance in the vertical jump. If you have lower performance you are likely suffering from under- recovery / overtraining. This is extremely common. Lower performance and feeling sluggish or tired are common effects of overtraining.
- Sleep well, take a day off, de-load for one week etc… if you notice the effects of overtraining. Don’t play intense ball every single day.
2. Never focus on quantity over quality.
Do you want to train your endurance or your maximum jumping height? IF you are able to jump at 25 inches it does very little for your vertical when you jump 10 inches off the ground 50 – 1000 times. Just like if you want to sprint faster it does you no good to walk, or even jog for hours.
EVERY SINGLE JUMP SHOULD BE TREATED WITH THE FOCUS AND INTENSITY OF A SINGLE EVENT.
Measure your performance – use a tape measure or something to gauge the intensity and height of each jump. Make sure each jump is at or above your highest mark. If you are jumping below, rest more between reps, or if you can no longer hit your high mark repeatedly, it’s time to end the session.
Reps are more important than sets – The number of sets is not important at all. The importance is the quality of each rep. If you do a set of 10 you will naturally pace yourself. Keep your sets low, to 5 or lower. If your jumping height lowers than you need to do less reps per set. If your goal is 40 reps, break it into 10 sets of 4. Better to jump 1 – 4 times at maximum intensity than 8 times at sub-maximum intensity.
Plyometrics should never feel exhaustive EVER – This is counterintuitive. We love to feel the burn, but the burn should be our cue that our workout is training endurance!
Never feel the burn. The burn is your body lacking energy source for contractions, and thus you are performing at a sub-maximum level. The burn is for endurance, NOT explosive training.
3. Always couple a plyometric routine with a strength training regime.
While you will achieve some strength gains by plyometric training, a plyometric routine cannot match the effectiveness of a strength training routine. It is well documented that plyometrics and strength training are mutually beneficial and yield MUCH more results than either technique alone. There are many options for strength training with or without a weight room. There is simply no excuse for neglecting a strength training program at least once a week. Focus on glutes, quads, calves, hams, and core.
Can you do a one leg squat… I am talking one leg and bring your butt to the ground, then stand up from one leg. If you can’t do this 10 times in a row (few can) then you have some serious strength work to do, and you are missing out on incredible gains on your vert.
4. Nutrition – People die of starvation. People get sick of malnutrition. Why is it so hard to believe that good nutrition can make us stronger and faster? This is one of the “secrets” of great athletes. Why? Because it is so elusive. We think because we eat 3 meals a day we are fine. You need protein, carbs, amino acids, vitamins. Eat a well-rounded diet. I’m not going to get into all the specifics of your diet here, but without a proper diet your training and performance will never be as effective as it could be.
5. Be ready to be patient. Be committed. – Results come, and for many they come quickly. There are hundreds of reasons and variables that could effect how quickly results come. I recently worked with a 29 year old athlete. After 3 weeks of training he was frustrated. Why was he not jumping higher? After sticking to it, and learning as he went, 8 weeks later he has gained 8 inches. That is an incredible gain.
Most athletes can’t make it through the valleys of training. Be prepared to be patient. Be one of the few who can maintain intensity and dedication day in and day out, week in and week out, month after month, year after year… and achieve greatness.
I could lecture on this for a week :) I have just seen so many athletes give up and go looking for the magic pill after a few days of training, or even a couple weeks, some even last a month. This is not the dedication of a great one. Do you really want this? Or would it just be nice to have if it is convenient?
This is Part 1. Before I write the rest of part 2 I want your feedback.
Comment below so I know what your questions are, then part 2 will have the rest of the plyometric setup information and answers to your questions.
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