Formerly known as jump training, plyometrics are exercises developed to increase your vertical leap. The words plyo and metrics actually stand for measurable increase.
Plyometric exercises link strength with the speed of the muscle to produce power. Plyometrics are exercises designed in a way to enable a muscle to reach maximum strength in the shortest time possible.
When your brain tells your muscle to fire it does so by sending nerve impulses to the muscle fibers which causes a chemical reaction. When you bend down prior to jumping, your muscles react without any conscious thought on your part.
Good jumpers stay in contact with the ground for the shortest time possible. When you bend down before jumping you have energy stored in your legs and the more time you are on the ground means more time for that energy to be wasted in the form of heat.
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One of the main focuses of plyometrics is to shorten the amount of time you are touching the ground. Plyometrics focus on using the stored energy in your legs from the loading phase of the jump.
Bending down before take off is often referred to as the loading phase. This loading phase is crucial to jumping higher because it gives the muscle more power.
Muscles can be compared to rubber bands to an extent. A stretched rubber band will go farther than a non-stretched rubber band.
An example of how our muscles react to stretching is the knee test. When the patella tendon under the knee cap is tapped, your muscle will react with power with no conscious thought on your part.
A muscle contraction is always fastest if stretched prior to contraction. Sadly, training does not increase the speed of the reaction, but it does increase the strength that the contraction will have.
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