Plyometrics Essay

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Plyometrics Plyometric training is a form of training that is used to help develop and enhance explosive power, which is a vital component in a number of athletic performances. This training method is meant to be used with other power development methods in a complete training program to improve the relationship between maximum strength and explosive power (Radcliffe 1). In order to understand how plyometric training works or why it is so effective, one must understand what is meant by "power." Power is similar to strength but with the time factor included, meaning speed. So power is relationship between strength and speed and deals with the ability to perform a certain activity or movement the fastest (Gambetta). Most explosive movements do not take that long. Therefore the importance is placed on the ability to generate the highest possible force in the shortest period of time, and at the same time, reducing or stopping this force at the end of the action (Gambetta). Even though it is not fully understood how plyometric training actually works, it is believed that the basic principle which is behind it is based on the idea of the rapid "stretch reflex." This stretch reflex is the result from the rapid loading (stretching) and unloading (unstretching) of the same muscle fibers. An example of the stretch reflex is when a right-handed golfer begins his/her back-swing. In performing this movement, the bicep muscle of his/her left arm contracts while the tricep muscle in the same arm is stretched. Then when the forward-swing is begun, the tricep contracts in response to its rapid stretching which triggered the stretch reflex (Radcliffe 8). In Plyometrics, training enhances the tolerance of the muscle for increased stretch loads. This increased tolerance develops an efficiency in the stretch shortening cycle of muscle action. During the stretching, also known as the

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