If you are looking for the best method to run faster, jump higher, hit and kick harder, then you need to do plyometric training.

Have you heard something like that? But what is plyometric training?

This video and article discusses

  • what plyometric training is
  • a definition of plyometrics
  • the benefits of plyometrics
  • and the stretch shortening cycle as an integral part of plyometrics

What is Plyometric Training?

In order to understand, what plyometric training is, it is essential to understand the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC).

The stretch-shortening cycles (SSC) is a protective reflex which protects the muscle from tearing. In simple words, the human body has an inbuilt protective mechanism, that when a muscle is stretched rapidly, the body sends a signal to the muscle to contract in order to prevent that muscle from tearing. Important to note, is that this reflex is involuntary, which means it is not in our conscious and voluntary control.

Plyometric training makes use of this protective reflex.

More information how the protective reflex, the Stretch-shortening cycle works in the article A Short Guide to Plyometric Training

What is Plyometric Training – the attempt of a definition

Probably a lot of confusion regarding plyometric training and mystical reports on its’ effectiveness is a result, that it is difficult to find a simple and clear definition of what plyometric training is.

Wikipedia offers a long article on Plyometrics which doesn’t include a real definition.

Breaking Muscle offers a deeper insight into Plyometrics: Terms, Definitions, and Proper Planning which also highlights the fact that different authors use a different definition.

In my opinion, Merriam Webster’s Dictionary offers the best Definition of plyometrics ‘exercise involving repeated rapid stretching and contracting of muscles (as by jumping and rebounding) to increase muscle power’

In my attempt to keep things simple, I would just say ‘Plyometrics or Plyometric Training is a training that involves the stretch-shortening cycle as a means to improve speed and power.’

What are Plyometric Exercises?

Plyometric exercises, some might call it plyos or plyometrics, are exercises that involve the stretch-shortening  cycle and are used as a means to improve speed and power.

For the sake of simplicity and not getting bogged down in semantics, I will simply call it plyometrics.

Plyometrics can be classified into lower body plyometrics and upper body plyometrics. Within this classification of lower body plyometrics and upper body plyometrics, we can further classify plyometrics into short stretch-shortening cycle plyometrics and long stretch-shortening cycle plyometrics.

Short stretch-shortening plyometrics are characterized by contact times below 180 milliseconds and Long stretch-shortening plyometrics are characterized by contact times above 180 milliseconds.

More information and practical examples on short stretch-shortening plyometrics and long stretch-shortening plyometrics in the articles

Plyometrics can be trained with different training modes, from bodyweight to light implements such as Medicine Balls, Kettle Bells, Dumbells, Barbells, etc

Important here is to realize that during the end phase of the plyometric exercise, the training mode, the body or object goes into a free flight mode, also known as ballistic.

Concluding What is Plyometric Training

Plyometric training or plyometrics is a form of training that elicits the stretch-shortening cycle as a means to augment the muscle contraction, which has a strong stimulus on the nervous system and muscle.

Plyometric training can be divided into upper body plyometrics and lower body plyometrics.

Plyometric training can be classified into short stretch-shortening cycle plyometrics and long stretch-shortening cycle plyometrics.

Plyometrics can be trained with different training modes, such as bodyweight, medicine ball, dumbbells and barbells.

More information on Plyometric Training

A Short Guide to Plyometric Training

4 Unexpected Benefits of Plyometric Training

Why understanding the Mechanics Behind Plyometric Training will make you jump like Michael Jordan

How often should you do Plyometric Training?

What are the Benefits of Plyometric Training?

How Plyometrics Increase Your Vertical

For more information read the article  or visit the plyometric training video library