Plyometrics are a form of progressive resistance exercise (PRE) and thus, must follow the principles of progressive overload. Progressive overload is a systematic increase in frequency, volume, and intensity by various combinations of exercises. Keep in mind that when one or two of these variables are increased one or both of the other variables may decrease. Generally, as intensity increases volume will decrease.
The method of progressive overload is dependent upon the sport and training phase. An off-season plyometric program for football, for example, may be performed two times a week. The program would progress in two week phases from:
This example could serve for any sport, with differing exercises utilizing the same progression of intensity and volume. In plyometric training the emphasis is on power development in which overloads are implemented.
Atypical plyometric program will take place over 8 to 10 weeks with tow training sessions per week. Proper progression into a plyometric program as well as within the program includes:
The following table is based upon an athlete who has sufficient base strength to begin plyometrics. The total number of sets, repetitions, and rest intervals is dependent upon the intensity level of the drill, the sport, the time of the year, and the fitness level of the athlete. Selection of the drills must be based on the required directional movements of the athlete.
The volume of exercises for plyometrics is noted as sets and reps, the same as in weight training. The number of sets and reps refers to foot contacts. If a particular phase calls for 2 x 10, this refers to 2 sets of 10 foot contacts. The volume is determined by conditioning level and base strength. Low volume is considered to be 60 - 80 foot contacts, moderate 80 - 140 foot contacts, and high volume is 140 and greater foot contacts.
Intensity (low, medium, or high) refers to the specific exercises being performed. Low intensity plyometric drills would be jump drills. Examples of these are jumps in place and standing jumps. Moderate intensity would include drills such as short-response hops, long-response hops, or combination jumps. Combination jumps are low-intensity jumps combined in a continuous pattern. High-intensity plyos are very advanced and should not be considered until after 6 weeks of low and moderate intensity drills have been accomplished. Examples of high-intensity drills are shocks, power jumps, and single leg hops. Shock jumps include in-depth jumps, box jumps, and drop-and-catch pushups.
The table below should help in plyometric program design. Remember that this is a only a blueprint and should be modified based on the season, sport and level of the athletes. This information is taken from: Essentials of Strength and Conditioning, National Strength and Conditioning Association, Human Kinetic Publishing, 1994.
©2000 - 2009 David Edell
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