Plyometrics are any type of movement that includes rapid and repetitive stretching and contracting of the muscle fibers, with the goal of improving power. These drills, such as hopping, skipping, and bounding, are not only beneficial for jumpers but sprinters and runners as well. Plyometrics have become a building block of any great speed development training program. The benefits of incorporating plyometrics into your training includes,
- Increased rate at which force is developed
- Increasing the strength and efficiency of the fast twitch muscle fibers
- Improve an athletes durability, decreasing the possibility of injury, by not only strengthening the muscle tissues, but enhancing bone density.
- Preparing the nervous system for similar contractions later, and teaching the body how to absorb force.
- Improving negative acceleration and agility by training the eccentric (stretching) muscle action.
Our specific plyometric drill today, is called bounding. To perform bounds, push off the ground with triple extension of the hip, knee, and ankle. Drive the front knee up and remain in the air covering as much distance as possible prior to the next stride. Forcefully drive the arms to improve power, and contact time on the ground should be as short as possible. The benefits of performing bounds, along with the benefits of performing general plyometrics, include,
- Improvements in explosive power during hip extension
- Increased stride length
- Decreasing the time that the foot remains on the ground.
These elements are important because for the sprinter, it is advantageous to spend more time in the air then on the ground. The SpeedMaker enhances this drill by providing resistance against the action of hip extension, to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings. To ensure safety, due to the high amounts of force taken on during plyometrics and bounding, this drill should only be conducted after the athlete has performed general conditioning of the core and legs. Bounding should also be implemented as a progression, bounding for shorter distances and fewer sets and increasing over time. Lastly, these drills should be performed on a forgiving surface such as grass or turf. Thank you for visiting the SpeedMaker blog, please view the video below, in which I demonstrate and describe how to perform bounds. I also encourage you to comment with thoughts, questions, or drills and exercises that you would like to see in the future.