Plyometric Power Ups
As athletes and martial artists progress, they often try to optimize their training to get the most effective training methods. The most bang for their buck so to speak. One of the most efficient ways to improve power and speed is plyometric training. Anyone who has taken one of Kombat Arts Training Academy’s Muay Thai or Boxing Classes is all too familiar with plyometric exercises, but they may not even be aware of it. With Team CAOS and Kombat’s Coach Socrates generous donation of Hard Foam Plyometric Boxes, I was inspired to take a closer look at this explosive training strategy.
The most common plyometric method of training is Jumping. In order to jump, your muscles need to generate a lot of force (concentric contraction), in a short period of time. Then, in the landing portion, your muscles need to absorb the force (eccentric contraction). Not all jumps are plyometric however, and it is important to execute them properly in order to receive their benefits. Here are some examples of plyometric techniques:
Box Jumps – Jump onto and off of a large box. Usually averaging around 18” or higher, these jumps are usually done in prescribed repetitions, so as to take advantage of the takeoff and landing portions with maximum force. Many a shin has felt the wrath of the box jump and has the scars to prove it. Pay attention. Get clear.
Vertical Depth Jumps – Like box jumps, but you are beginning at the top of the box and jumping down, then back up as fast and with as much force as possible.
Squat Jumps – Beginning at as deep a squat as possible and then jumping as high as possible quickly and returning to the initial depth. Bonus points for getting your knees up at the top.
Lateral Jumps – Jumping from side to side, or along a straight line.
Burpees – Everyone’s favorite. Burpees are a full body plyometric movement that ends in a tuck jump.
Bounding – Running with long strides and trying to cover as much distance between jumps. Think of the graceful gazelle.
Plyometric Push Ups – Do a push up, but do it with enough force to pop yourself off of the ground. Clap if you want, you deserve the applause for your efforts.
Medicine Ball Throws – Wall balls, twisting throws, floor slams, sit up throws, any way you can get that ball away from you as quickly and explosively as possible. Like a hot potato, or a grenade.
Now that you know what to do, get out there and start doing it! Right? WRONG! The last thing we need is for a bunch of people with bad knees, and poor hip and ankle mobility jumping around and snapping tendons and ACLs like brittle twigs. Make sure that you are properly warmed up, and that your mobility and flexibility are dialed in properly before attempting these movements. Being smart in your training allows you to train more. So don’t dive into depth jumps without first testing a lower intensity version of them. Ask your Coaches and Trainers. Seek professional help. Educate yourself on the proper techniques and you will be a plyometric powerhouse in no time!
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