Plyometric training is not a particularly new training method. Even though it has recently received much attention it has been a part of the training of athletes in a variety of sports for years. It just was not called plyometrics. The word plyometrics didn’t appear in the training literature until the late 1960s and since then scientific research has given us a fundamental understanding of the elastic properties of muscle and its trainability.
What is plyometric training? It is specific work for enhancing explosive power by enhancing the tolerance of the muscle for increased stretch loads. In most athletic events there is seldom enough time to develop maximum strength which takes 0.5 to 0.7 seconds. Plyometric training improves the relationship between maximum strength and explosive power.
This is just one aspect of plyometric training. In order to make plyometric training more effective for sports, the exercise must also raise proprioceptive demand. Proprioception is the position sense provided by the receptors of the joints, ligaments, and tendons. In other words, proprioception is the glue that holds everything together. Unfortunately it is also the one element that has been virtually ignored in the realm of performance enhancement.
Putting the elements together is where coaching comes in. In my DVD on the topic, I shared my approach, including progressions and variations in a dozen different areas of plyometric training. Not a lot has changed since then. It has been more than 20 years, but many people still think plyometric training is new. So by taking a step back I hope we all continue to understand plyometrics better and make them a more effective tool for developing explosive athletes.