By Mike Simone Men's Fitness
For all of our fans who shoot us questions on the Men's Fitness Facebook and Twitter Pages, this one is for you. Each week, we will tap into our pool of editors and experts to help with any questions or challenges you are having with your fitness regimen. This week, Rob Sulaver C.S.C.S., founder and owner of Bandana Training, answers questions about plyometric training and how to get most out of it. You can also catch Sulaver on Twitter @BandanaTraining.
1) Understanding Plyometrics asked by Tom Riley
What are plyometrics and what's the point of doing them?
“Plyometrics are any movement that utilizes the Stretch-Shortening Cycle (SSC). They’re drills that are aimed at linking strength and speed, especially with fundamental movement patterns like jumping, bounding, and throwing. So think: squat jumps, bounds (1 leg take off, opposite 1 leg landing), hops (1 leg take-off, same 1 leg landing), and med ball throws.”
2) Using Plyos asked by Gregory Moran
Is plyometric training a sport-specific form of training or are there functional applications to everyday living?
"Great question. While plyos are definitely paramount for athletes, anyone can benefit from an improved ability to coordinate high speed movements. So, it’s a win for everyone."
3) Plyometric Progressions asked by This Fit Chick
How do you progress with plyometric training?
"There are many ways to progress plyo’s. Here’s my favorite:
1) Non-Countermovement Plyo’s (ex: squat and pause before jumping.)
2) Countermovement Plyo’s. (ex: stand tall, quickly squat and jump.)
3) Double Contact Plyo’s (ex: hop forward then quickly squat and jump.)
4) Continuous Plyo’s (squat jump, squat jump, squat jump, etc.)
You can also move from simple to complex movements (ex: linear jumps to lateral jumps) or from a stable base to a less stable base (ex: two legs to one leg.)
What I don't love to see is simply adding weight to plyometrics. Initially, there are more intelligent ways to progress. "
4) Details of Plyo Workouts asked by Colin Lane
How many sets, reps should I be doing? How about frequency and when/where in my programming should I include plyometrics?
"Generally speaking you want quality over quantity. I love plyo’s at the beginning of my workouts as a form of neural activation. Should take about 10 minutes, 2-3 different movements, 5-8 sets, 3-6 reps. Less intelligent in my book - plyo’s at the end of the workout as a form a cardio (technically, you could consider sprinting a form of plyo, and sprinting is the great cardio, but I consider sprinting sprinting and plyo’s plyo’s.) ;"
5) Advantages/Disadvantages asked by Courtney Selig
How do the advantages of plyometrics outweigh the disadvantages when training?
“Yes. Smart question. When executed properly and used in reasonable volume, plyometrics help prevent injury and improve performance. But poor form, misguided progressions, or crazy-ass volume leads to the opposite of that. Any time you start getting fast and explosive, you’ve gotta be thoughtful with your training. "