Plyometrics is a unique combination of cardio and strength training. If you’re working on building your fitness, you might be considering working plyometrics into your workout routine. But what are the advantages and disadvantages of plyometric training?
A popular form of training, plyometrics is now frequently used to improve our health and fitness. As plyometrics is a good balance of aerobic and anaerobic exercise, it is also a style of exercise used in circuit training and bootcamps.
You have probably used plyometric training in your workouts before, whether you meant to or not! In fact, many popular exercises are a form of plyometric training.
So, what exactly is plyometric training?
Well, we’re going to take a look at this fitness technique and tell you the advantages and disadvantages of plyometric training!
What is plyometric training?
Plyometric training is a form of fitness that is often referred to as jump training.
This form of workout focuses on stretching and contraction of the muscles in quick succession – through jumping. It has been proven as an incredibly effective way of increasing muscular strength and agility.
So, how does it work?
Well, when you land from a jump, the muscles at the front of the thighs stretch as your knees bend. A fast contraction then occurs as you begin the next jump, increasing the power and speed of the jump.
In addition to that, the short the time in between jumps leads to more strength and power being built. Not to mention the increase in heart rate as you move faster through the workout!
This cycle is often referred to ask the stretch-shortening cycle; concentric contractions of the muscle – the shortening – are followed by eccentric contractions of the muscle – lengthening.
Plyometric training improves your balance greatly, but also increases agility and stability.
Of course, this is the reason plyometrics is such as unique combination of cardio and strength training! As we know: anaerobic exercise is a great way to promote fat loss, and plyometrics also plays an important role in that.
So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of plyometric training?
Let’s find out!
Advantages of plyometric training
There are many advantages to plyometric training in addition to its unique combination of cardio and strength training.
Let’s take a look at the advantages of plyometric training!
Requires little to no equipment
Much like calisthenics – another popular form of fitness of which varies greatly in difficulty – plyometric training requires little or no equipment.
Yes, because plyometrics are exercises based on jumping – you can do plyometrics anywhere, anytime. Some exercises may require boxes or small pieces of equipment, but if you are on holiday or have no access to a gym, you can still easily do plyometric training!
Helps to build strength
Plyometric training is a great way to build strength, which is a huge advantage for those wanting to increase muscle mass.
Jump training involves explosive movements and encourages you to put as much power into your movements as possible. If completed regularly, these exercises will help you to build strength in no time. Plyometrics will have you doing jump squats, tuck jumps, and vertical jumps. The aim? To get higher and use more power each time! Once you start plyometric training you will see how easily you start to gain strength and power!
Traditionally, plyometrics was used by athletes such as footballers to train their speed and ability. Plyometrics is a great way to improve performance in other sports and is still used as training today.
Of course, that certainly doesn’t mean you can’t use plyometrics to improve your general fitness! Plyometrics is used by personal trainers and on workout videos regularly. In fact, combining plyometrics with other forms of fitness technique can lead to amazing results for weight loss and increase in muscle mass!
So, as you can see there are numerous advantages to plyometric training. Of course, like any form of fitness technique, you need to use correct form, and build your workout according to your level of fitness.
But are there any disadvantages to this popular form of training?
Disadvantages of plyometric training
As we know, the advantages of plyometric training are numerous, but what about the disadvantages?
Well, the only real disadvantage to plyometrics is it carries a higher risk of injury than other forms of fitness training.
Why is this?
Because repetitive jumping can, in some cases, put excessive strain on joints and bones. Particularly those that have knee injuries. Of course, there are still other forms of bodyweight exercises for people who suffer with bad knees.
Another disadvantage to plyometrics is that often people begin this style of training without using proper form. Jumping can easily cause injury if not executed properly. So, it is important to go into plyometric training at the very beginning, as ankles and joints can be weaker than expected if you are not used to this sort of exercise.
That being said, if you practice plyometrics with full knowledge of the risks, and the best ways to prevent injury, including taking it slowly and having rest days to recover, it is a beneficial form of exercise.
Let’s look at how you can prevent injury during plyometric training!
Plyometrics – how to avoid injury
Plyometric training is a high-intensity form of exercise. If you body is not used to practicing these moves, it is extremely easy to cause yourself an injury.
We’re going to look at simple steps you can take to avoid injury during plyometric training!
Start with the basics
If you want to start plyometric training as a beginner, it’s important to learn the basics first. In fact, the best way to start plyometrics is to practice the exercises without the jumping element first.
For example, before you attempt jump squats, perfect your squat, and ensure you have perfect form before moving up a level! This goes the same for jump lunges too. If you are practicing your lunge incorrectly, you will certainly struggle to complete a jump lunge with correct form.
No matter what exercise you are doing, it is important to warm up your muscles and joints first.
Well, this is particularly important when it comes to plyometrics! You are at much less risk of strain if you allow your body to gradually increase the amount of power you are putting in during a workout.
Use rest days
If you are at the beginning of a new fitness journey, it’s easy to throw yourself in too hard.
Enthusiasm is great! But it is important when practicing high-intensity training to allow your body time to recover. Plyometrics can be practiced several times a week, but you should leave 48 – 72 hours in between each plyometric session.
So, plyometrics has many advantages when practiced correctly, and can give you incredible results in your overall fitness!
The takeaway from this is to be cautious when starting a new training plan, including plyometrics. Of course, if practiced correctly, there really are no disadvantages to this form of fitness. Just remember to take the correct precautions to prevent injury!