4 Unexpected Benefits of Plyometric Training
Ever wondered what makes plyometrics so beneficial for athletes? Plyometric training offers a variety of advantages to speed, power, and strength athletes. Most often the advantages of plyometric training are limited to improved jump performance and weight loss.
Number one, there are more plyometric benefits than improved jump performance.
Number two, forget the benefits of plyometrics on weight loss. It’s nonsense.
Forget the benefits of plyometrics on weight loss. It’s nonsense.
In short, very short, plyometrics are short high-intensity burst, performed in the state of no-fatigue, and using long inter-serial rest periods. This is actually the complete opposite of the training interventions you need to apply to accelerate weight loss. But let’s not go there, the purpose of this article is to outline unexpected or little know benefits of plyometric training.
- If you want to dive into the topic of weight loss, I have outlined the mechanisms of weight loss, the ‘weight-loss formula’, and training interventions to accelerate weight loss in the article Only 3 Things You Need To Know About Strength Training and Weight Loss.
I have gathered a list of some of the top things that plyometric training improves with respect to your neural side as well as your muscular side.
This article discusses
How does the nervous system work?
Before I get started outlining the plyometric training benefits, let’s quickly talk about the nervous system, and how the nervous system activates muscles. 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
- firing frequency means the speed at which these motor units are activated
- and synchronization means how efficiently motor units are activated.
The benefits of plyometric training on the nervous system
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.
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 the 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.
The benefits of plyometric training on the muscular system
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 are 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 high-intensity plyometrics.
Check out this tutorial, where I discuss how to progress Plyometric Training, and elaborate on the idea that you need to Squat two-times your bodyweight, before engaging in 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 an 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.
Concluding the Unexpected Benefits of Plyometric Training
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.
More information about Plyometric Training
A Short Guide to Plyometric Training
How often should you do Plyometric Training?
What are the Benefits of Plyometric Training?