How Plyometrics build muscle in 3 steps

You have asked yourself how Plyometrics build muscle? Let me take it away, plyometrics won’t build muscle mass directly, however, if you understand the adaptations that follow the plyometric training and the adaptations needed for building muscle mass, which are both covered in this article you will understand how plyometrics build muscle faster, compared to no plyometric training.

This article and video discusses

How Plyometrics build muscle – step 1: Understanding the adaptations following a plyometric training before asking how plyometrics can build muscle mass

If you are interested in building muscle mass, there are two adaptations that follow a plyometric training program, that is important to you.

Firstly, plyometric training offers a high neural stimulus, which means that the signal from the brain to the muscle travels faster and your muscles can contract faster.

Why is that important?

Just check out the random video below, which shows a maximum effort Bench Press attempt. However, even if movement velocity is low, you still want to make sure that the neural drive to the muscle is maximized to succeed.

Secondly, plyometric training strengthens the muscle-tendon complex.

What is the muscle-tendon complex?

In simple words, the muscle is attached to a tendon and the tendon is attached to a bone.

This complex of muscle, tendon, and bone gets stronger, which allows you to lift heavier loads over time.

Why is that important?

Well, you might want to listen to 6 times Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates on how he experienced a tendon tear during the preparation of his last Mr. Olympia contest and the painful injury and recovery process

How Plyometrics build muscle – step 2: Understanding the requirements to build muscle mass

In order to stimulate a muscle to grow, you need to tick 2 boxes of the most simple requirements.

You need a high mechanical tension on the muscle and you also need to have that tension for a certain amount of time, which is referred to time under tension (TUT). And to be completely precise there are more elements, as stated by Dr. Brad Schoenfeld, amongst them metabolic stress and muscle damage.

However, the primary requirements and those you can influence easiest are the mechanical load and time under tension.

Mechanical load refers to the external load, the higher the external load, the higher the mechanical load. Yes, your 40 kg Bench Press set with accentuated negatives might burn, however, the mechanical load is low and consequently that won’t do very much for you.

Time under tension is the total time of tension, if you lift the weight for 1-second hold it for 1 second and lower it for 2 seconds, you have completed 4 seconds of time under tension. In order to maximize hypertrophy, the total time under tension should be 25 – 60 seconds.

  • 25 – 40 seconds for functional hypertrophy
  • 40 – 60 seconds for non-functional hypertrophy

You can make the math on the given example from above how many repetitions that are in total.

  • 6 – 10 reps for functional hypertrophy
  • 10 – 15 reps for non-functional hypertrophy

However, once you change the rep cadence, you need to adjust the number of repetitions as well.

How Plyometrics build muscle – step 3: How to put the pieces together so that plyometric training can support your muscle growth

I have covered the requirements for muscular hypertrophy, as the height of the mechanical load is determined by the external load and the time under tension, as the total time the muscle is under tension.

Let’s have a look at plyometric training and the requirements for muscular hypertrophy.

Since plyometrics are most often performed with bodyweight only or very light implements

Check out the example for a short stretch-shortening cycle activity for the lower body vs a long stretch-shortening cycle activity for the lower body performed by Track Cyclist Harrie Lavreysen

And another example of a short stretch-shortening cycle activity for the upper body vs a long stretch-shortening cycle activity for the upper body also performed by Track Cyclist Harrie Lavreysen

In both examples, you can see, that the total time under tension is minimal and you won’t get to the total time under tension required of 25 – 60 seconds.

This is exactly the reason, why plyometrics can’t build muscle directly.

Concluding How Plyometrics build muscle

In conclusion, plyometrics does not build muscle directly.

However, a strategic implementation of plyometric training into your training routine, associated with the benefits of stronger and faster neural drive and a stronger muscle-tendon complex can help you to build muscle mass indirectly and help you to stay injury free.

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