You can find plyometrics in the workouts of Olympic athletes and weekend warriors alike. The high-intensity, jumping moves marry strength and speed for what Olympic athletes and weekend warriors alike hope will make them fitter, faster and stronger in no time.
Now, new research into the benefits of plyometrics suggests adding some explosive strength training into your routine may also make you a better athlete.
The research comes from a team from Universidad de Los Lagos in Chile, and includes studies of young soccer players and adult distance runners. Among the runners, a small group of competitive athletes were assigned either to a control group or a group who trained in plyometrics for six weeks. When compared to the results of a physical fitness test given before the study, the plyometrics group improved their speed at 2.4 kilometers and at a 20 meter sprint. They also showed in improvements in "explosive performance" on a series of jumping exercises.
"Unlike other exercises, plyometric exercises don’t need a lot of equipment, space and time," lead author Rodrigo Ramírez-Campillo said in a statement, "so they have great practical efficiency within the training plan of sportspeople." In fact, you can get a full-body plyometrics workout in just 15 minutes.
However, experts caution that plyos may not be the best fit for everyone looking to get leaner or meaner. A solid strength base is required to perform jumping movements without risking injury. "It's one thing to be strong, another to be explosive," Donald A. Chu, author of "Plyometrics", told Reuters Health in 2013.