Plyometric Jump to Run Faster
What is plyometric jumping you ask?! According to this article on sportsmedicine.about.com, “plyometric training involves high-intensity, explosive muscular contractions that invoke the stretch reflex (stretching the muscle before it contracts so that it contracts with greater force.” It is designed to produce fast and powerful movements.
From this HubPage I found, plyometric exercises are “defined by fast consecutive stretching and contracting movements of a muscle…This trains your fast twitch fibers, allowing you to react quicker and with strength in your movement.”
Some examples of plyometric exercises are: jumping in the air, landing and then immediately pushing back out into another jump; jumping off a box onto the floor and onto another higher box; barrier lateral jumps. For some more examples you can check out sites such as BrianMac.co.uk and Plyometric Exercises.
LifeScript.com also shares a very helpful exercise called “bounding” used to help you run faster: “As you run, push forcefully off the ground with your feet for each step you take. This exaggerated version of running will have you literally leaping as you run. This improves both your explosive power and speed.”
Now that we have a pretty good idea of what plyometric exercises are, let’s talk about how plyometric exercises are going to improve your running speed and power.
Many athletes use plyometric exercises to increase their strength, speed and power. According to the HubPage mentioned early, these types of exercise are going to train your muscles for rapid contractions which are going to help allow you to generate more force in your movements, the benefits of these being increased power.
As I read from that BrianMac.co.uk article mentioned earlier; when you jump you are stretching your muscle before contracting it. When your muscle is stretching “much of the energy required to stretch it is lost as heat, but some of this energy can be stored by the elastic components of the muscle.”
Yet your muscle can only use this energy if you follow your stretch immediately with a contraction, i.e. jumping motion. This allows for a greater force when you do contract. Doing these types of exercises helps to build your muscle force, allowing you more power when contracting, especially when running.
The LifeScript article mentioned early states, “Adding plyometric drills to your workouts helps to increase power, coordination, agility, and speed of movement.”
So if you are looking to improve your muscle contraction force and power with every step to increase your speed, plyometric exercises are going to do the trick!
Written By: Jentry