What it is: According to the book Jumping Into Plyometrics, it involves “exercises that enable your muscles to reach maximum strength at the shortest possible time.” In other words, all movements are done in an explosive manner.
Why do it: Weight training and cardio exercises are good, but it doesn’t use certain muscle functions. “[These] don’t utilize the stretch-shortening cycle [of the muscles] as much,” says Eski Ripoll, MSc, head strength and conditioning coach at SPARC sports performance center,FEU Manila. Training in plyo allows your body to move more effeciently. “You train your body to recruit as many fast-twitch muscle fibers at the shortest possible time. It also conditions your body to effeciently transfer the forces generated during the eccentric phase (when your muscle lengthens), and translate that to a powerful concentric action—just like a spring or a rubber band.” Depending on what your program entails, plyometrics will help you to either jump higher, punch faster or kick harder.
Who can do it: Because plyometrics is intense, it’s important that you have a good level of fitness before you give it a try. As Ripoll puts it: “If you can carry your own body weight and perform the proper movements required then you can do it. For example, if you can squat properly without compensating and without feeling any pain then you can gradually start plyometrics.”
Where you can try it: Plyometrics is one of the many programs featured at the SPARC sports
performance center. They also offer different strength and conditioning programs for teams and individuals. They also have sports rehab clinic facility. Visit them at the ground floor, Technology Building, FEU, Nicanor Reyes St., Manila or call 736-9929 or 736-6253 for more information.
And if you're really eager to try this work out, here are some basic drills that you can check out.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms on your sides. Do a squat until your
thighs are parallel to the floor and jump as high up in the air as you can while swinging your arms up. You should land on the same spot.
While facing a concrete wall, stand holding a medicine ball with a weight you can comfortably
carry on your chest. Throw the ball towards the wall and catch it as it bounces back.
Place a wooden box higher than knee level in front of you. Crouch down and jump onto the top of the box while swinging your arms up.
WORDS: WAYNE JOSEPH TULIO
PHOTO: OCS ALVAREZ