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Types of Training: Plyometrics

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Want to improve your speed, quickness, and power? If so, engage in plyometrics training. Plyometrics training improves these areas of fitness by exerting the maximum force to muscles in the shortest amount of time possible. The result is increased speed and force of muscle contractions, which allows you to jump higher, run faster, punch harder, or whatever else you are trying to achieve.

There are two different stages to all plyometrics exercises that are the key to muscle training: the lengthening stage and the stretch-shortening stage. The lengthening stage is when the muscles are loaded, for instance when you jump, the lengthening stage would be the action of bending the knees to prepare for the jump. As you could imagine, the stretch-shortening stage would be the explosive action of the jump after the knees were bent where the muscles quickly contract.

There are thousands of different types of plyometric exercises, but here are some that you can easily do in the home, gym, or park. The squat jump requires you to bend your knees into a jumping position, and then jump straight up as fast and explosive as possible. Try doing this with a medicine ball for faster results. If you are trying to improve your lateral speed, try lateral bounding exercises. This exercise requires you to do lateral lunges from side to side as quickly as possible, and trains your muscles to move correctly in lateral directions. For arm training, try some incline push up depth jumps. For this exercise, start in a push up position, but with your feet elevated off of a box or other structure that is about a foot tall. Then, lower your body as to do a regular push up, but when you explode up lift your hands off of the ground and have them land a few inches farther apart than the starting position. On the next push up, land with your hands closer together as they were when you started the exercise, and repeat steps until you can no longer do anymore.