One of the things that every runner seeks to improve is muscle strength. Not necessarily to run stronger, but also simply to last longer or to be able to take the sprint of a lifetime across the finish line at the home race. One effective way to do this is to perform exercises called plyometric, that is, that whole series of exercises that are commonly part of a crossfitter’s baggage, which develop power and require a great deal of effort in a very short time. While it is true that plyometric workouts are aimed at increasing muscle strength, it is also true that not all workouts devoted to building strength can be ascribed to plyometric training. For one to speak of plyometry, three factors must in fact be present simultaneously:
In this phase of the exercise, the muscle is stretched, storing potential energy in the fibers, preparing them for the leap. An example of this phase is when a basketball player bends his knees before jumping or flexes his arms before throwing.
The depreciation phase is that moment of dynamic stabilization during which the muscle goes from overcoming the acceleration of gravity and charging energy to suddenly releasing it. It is, in a nutshell, the pause between the previous phase and the next phase. If it lasts too long, however, it loses its usefulness and the stored energy dissipates.
This is the phase in which all the energy accumulated in the previous phases burts in the athletic gesture. It is the moment of jumping or throwing the ball, the moment when potential energy becomes kinetic energy.
Now that you know what the components of plyometric training are, you have the embarrassment of riches to get started. Do you want a small list? Here you are!
- Jumping jacks: one of the easiest of the plyometric exercises, you need absolutely nothing but your body. These are jumps in place by which the legs are spread apart and the arms are raised at the same time. Yes, like the warm-up exercises you did back then in school, that’s right!
- Jumping rope: again, a simple one (relatively). We all know what kind of exercise it is, and all you need is a rope of the right length and some coordination. Maybe more than a little, come on. But it is definitely a lot of fun!
- Running in place with knees up: this one is super easy and comes closest to running, even though it is really just jump after jump. The important thing is that your knees must be pushed as high as possible. It is tiring, but very useful, you will see!
- Burpees: this is perhaps the most complex of the proposed exercises, but rest assured, you will see.
Start standing with your legs apart
Bend your legs to do a squat by bringing and resting your hands on the ground
Bring your legs back as if to do squats
Immediately return to the squat position
A jump is made from the squat position to the starting position.
Well, you now know some exercises, it only takes one thing: get started!