How do I Develop a Plyometric Program?

Christine Hudson

To develop a personalized plyometric program, you first need to assess your current physical fitness and fitness goals. Plyometric programs are typically used by athletes to build endurance, strength and speed, but they are also becoming more and more popular among body builders and those who work out at home. The wrong training program, however, may cause injury or excessive fatigue and become more harmful than helpful. It is important to understand the basic necessities of a proper workout regimen, nutrition, and rest.

A plyometic program for a soccer player would focus on lower body exercises.
A plyometic program for a soccer player would focus on lower body exercises.

Plyometric exercises are a bit different from the original Russian program they stem from. A plyometric program consists of several basic exercises for strength that powerfully stretch and contract the muscles in a short amount of time. Tossing a medicine ball or hopping on one foot seem simple, but strength and coordination are needed to prevent injury. Before trying any plyometric program, it is necessary to be in good physical condition—many start with a basic strength-training program. The person can then start slowly and work with an experienced trainer to develop the right plyometric program.

Most plyometric programs start with an extensive warm-up period to get blood flowing, increase heart rate, and stretch muscles and ligaments. Basic exercises such as squat jumps and medicine ball throws can then be worked in. If the person developing the plyometric program is an athlete, then his or her program should work on the muscles used most often in the chosen sport. Soccer players, for example, would want to concentrate most of their workout on lower-body exercises.

It is generally a good idea for athletes and casual exercisers alike to work with or consult a professional during the initial stages of developing a plyometric program. A fitness instructor or other professional is generally able to not only come up with the right exercise routine, but also show the proper way to do each exercise. An exercise done improperly can, at best, be relatively ineffective and, at worst, may hurt you.

Rest periods and proper nutrition are essential to help prevent injury during plyometric training. Supplements such as vitamin C may rebuild cartilage, while sleep will repair and grow muscle. Drinking plenty of water helps to keep the joints lubricated and the blood flowing. It also helps prevent dehydration, which can be detrimental to any workout regimen.

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