Ever wondered what makes plyometrics so beneficial for athletes? Plyometric training offers a variety of advantages to speed, power and strength athletes. We have gathered a list of some of the top things that plyometric training is bound to improve with respect to your neural side as well as muscular side…
How does plyometrics work on the nervous system?
We know that there are three distinct mechanisms the nervous system activates a muscle:
- Recruitment of muscle fiber
- The firing frequency
- The synchronization
A quick intro to motor units, a motor unit is the complex of the nerve and the muscle fibres this nerve activates. A really good and understandable explanation in this entertaining video
Recruitment of muscle fibers means the number of motor units that can be activated at a time, where the firing frequency means the speed at which these motor units are activated and synchronization means how efficiently motor units are activated.
Why are plyometrics good for you?
1. Enhances the firing frequency.
Plyometric training allows you to develop and improve firing frequency. In other words, it increases the speed at which the motor units are activated at a neuromuscular level. This happens to be the most important part of sports that include speed and power. Are you involved in sports that involve speed and power? Then you should be practicing some kind of plyometrics.
2. Opens neural pathways.
Plyometric training also helps to open neural pathways. What does opening of neural pathways do for you? It means that the signals from the brain will travel at a faster rate to the muscle which will help it to lift weights. In other words, it means the number of muscle fibers that can be triggered at a time to lift some weight. The number of muscle fibers activated is not the only thing that is important but also how fast these muscle fibers are activated. This is a great benefit to strength athletes and an often overlooked factor in the design of strength training programs for strength athletes.
3. Strengthens the muscle tendon complex.
What does a muscle tendon complex consist of? Every muscle in the body has attached tendons at the end that connects it to the bones that is the skeletal structure of the body. Plyometrics offers advantages to this complex structure that makes movement possible in the first place.
In order to strengthen the muscle tendon complex, high intensity plyometrics is what you should be going for BUT before jumping on to high intensity plyometrics, first master the basic skills. Gradually the plyometrics training will make you ready for a high intensity plyometrics.
4. Makes the muscles stiffer.
Apart from strengthening the muscle tendon complex, it aids in makings the muscle stiffer. Now what does that mean? Research has proven that muscles actually work in an isometric manner instead of eccentric manner which is normally believed. What does this actually mean? It means that muscles are actually stiff by nature and it is actually the tendon’s elastic qualities that we use for movement and not the other way round.
Plyometric Training Conclusions
Plyometric training opens neural pathways and trains to activate the muscles faster. It strengthens the muscle-tendon complex and results in the muscle-tendon complex being able to store more elastic energy. This storage of elastic energy can be used for more forceful muscle contractions, which means your performance in activities like running, throwing, hitting, and jumping can be augmented by multiple times.