Plyometric Training

Plyometric training involves reactive movements that highlight the motion of the body which generates force immediately after deceleration of a previous movement. A client must be ready for this type of training before proceeding. Once NASM assessment that can be performed to identify client-readiness is the Overhead Squat Assessment (OHSA). One such reason for this selection is due to the necessity of sufficient achievement in body and core strength as well as balance. During the Overhead Squat Assessment, the trainer can observe key points both from a lateral perspective as well as the anterior. Each point in the kinetic chain is visible from foot and ankle position, Lumbopelvic-Hip Complex alignment and rotation, and head and shoulder alignment and position. Together these allow for analysis of the client’s core and body strength, and their balance. However, a balance may be more clearly seen in the single-leg squat assessment.

The first level in the OPT model for plyometric training is stabilization. This specifically involves the client’s ability to stabilize, or sustain, their position upon landing. This is typically a duration of three to five seconds after landing, which more than ensures a strong stabilized body. One struggle that can be seen during this level is the ability to hold correct posture at the time of landing. When seen as a complete movement the body utilizes the stabilization phase to transition into the next, therefore stopping to stabilize may be difficult yet is crucial to a strong foundation. An upper-body exercise for plyometric stabilization is the “Two-Arm Medicine Ball Chest Pass” (Clark, 2018, p. 328). For the lower body, the client can jump down from a box and stabilize upon landing.

The second level of the OPT model for plyometric training is strength. This level layers onto stabilization by adding additional strength to the movement. This focuses on the force production of the exercise. In other words, this is the concentric part of the cycle. One exercise for the lower body is the squat jump, which consequently may also invoke the upper body as well. The reason being that the subject can utilize the potential energy stored in arms which are place rearward of the body during the initial squat movement, which then explodes in the upward direction allowing for an increase in force production. For this article, the focused exercise for the lower body is noted as the butt kick. This reduces the involvement of the upper body by maintaining the arms next to the obliques performing a jump similar to the squat jump but with the feet raising posterior to the body rather than upward following the knees.

The third level of OPT for plyometric training is power. This level ties the eccentric, amortization, and concentric phases together in a complete cycle. An exercise for this level for the upper body is Ice Skaters. The reason this is classified as upper body, in addition to lower by default, is that the arms are utilized by reaching outward during the eccentric phase while the foot on the same side lands and is loaded. The arm then contracts concentrically across the plane of motion as the same foot is pressing off the floor. As for specific lower body exercises, one is the “Single-Leg Power Step-Up” (Clark, 2018, p. 284). While this does also involve the upper body, much more work is done by the lower body during the upward acceleration as well as the loading phased on the downward motion.

References:

Clark, M. A., Lucett, S. C., McGill, E., Montel, I., & Sutton, B. (2018). NASM essentials of personal fitness training. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

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