What is Plyometric Training
Right when you think you’ve finally gotten used to all the fitness lingo you hear at the studio, someone mentions something like plyometric training. If you’re sitting there scratching your head wondering what on earth we’re talking about, then don’t sweat it! Let’s go on a deep dive together into this popular, high-intensity training method in today’s blog to help explain what it is, why it’s good for you, and how you experience plyometrics in every 9Round workout.
What is Plyometric Training?
We hope you’re ready to put on your thinking cap because we’ve got a few new vocabulary words you can learn to help you understand plyometric training. Don’t worry, there won’t be a final test at the end of this lesson, but you will learn something new that you can tell all your friends about when you bring them to 9Round. (-;
Let’s start by learning the simple definition of this popular training method first, and then we’ll go on to explain things a bit further. Plyometric training at its core is any type of rapid movement that takes your muscles through the stretch-shortening cycle. Another way to put it is a rapid switch from an eccentric muscle contraction to a concentric muscle contraction.
Now, eccentric contractions are when the muscle develops tension while lengthening, while concentric contractions are when a muscle is excreting force greater than the resistive force, resulting in the shortening of the muscle.
All of this may sound a bit complicated at this point, so let’s look at the best-known example of these two types of muscle contractions, which can be seen during your typical bicep curl. When you curl your arm up toward your shoulder, your bicep muscles contract and shorten, which is a concentric movement. When you lower your arm back down near your waistline, your bicep muscles are lengthening and therefore, performing an eccentric movement.
Of course, a bicep curl is much slower and more controlled than most plyometric exercises, which are considered rapid movements from eccentric to concentric contractions. Good examples of plyometric movements would be jumping rope, squat jumps, box jumps, gorilla jumps, burpees, and lunge jumps—notice the word “jump” in most of these movements…we’re already tired just thinking about it.
Benefits of Plyometric Training
One of the most attractive benefits of plyometric training is the increased power you can build—moves classified in this genre of exercise tend to put more demand on your muscles. This provides solid resistance training during your workouts, and therefore, helps strengthen your muscles over time. Additionally, plyometric exercises are usually more intense, which means they help raise your heart rate to that yellow zone quickly. This allows you to tap into your anaerobic system to burn more calories during and after your workout.
A lesser-known benefit of plyometric training is related to your nervous system and the improvements it makes over time to increase your control. With plyometric exercises, your muscles adapt quickly to perform each move, which in turn signals your nervous system to start responding faster and more efficiently in the moment. This helps improve your overall control of your body, as your muscles and nervous system work together to overcome the difficulty of the plyometric moves.
An example of how your nervous system improves your control is when you first start doing box jumps at 9Round, you might have difficulty hitting the right spot on the box every time. But as you warm up your muscles and your mind starts getting used to the exercise, it becomes easier to land in the right spot each time you jump, which means you have greater control over your movements by the end of the round.
How 9Round Incorporates Plyometric Training
At 9Round, we don’t like to bombard our members with tons of plyometric moves because they can be intense and more difficult at first—think about the first time you tried burpees. However, we do try to sprinkle in a few plyometric exercises into every KILLER workout to help you tap into the incredible benefits mentioned above. Of course, we spread out the plyometrdic moves across different rounds to make sure you’re getting just enough intensity without going overboard.
When looking at the structure of our 30-minute circuit routine, the most obvious example of how we incorporate plyometrics into every workout is found at Round 1. Jumping rope is a great plyometric exercise that’s low-impact and helpful for warming up your muscles and your mind so you can CRUSH your KILLER workout.