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Strength & Conditioning Gym Brisbane - Group Fitness Classes & Personal Training - ATHLETIX

Everyone wants to run and jump higher. However, doing box jumps alone does not really cut it. A structured approach, based on evidence, is key.
Building the ability to strike the ground with intent and within specific time limits is essential to improve our performance.

The stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) is a natural muscle function involving a rapid transition from an eccentric (muscle lengthening) to a concentric (muscle shortening) action. There are two primary types of SSCs: short SSC and long SSC.

Short Stretch-Shortening Cycle

Duration: Typically less than 250 milliseconds.
Example Movements: Sprinting, hopping, and quick jumps.
Mechanism: Relies heavily on the elastic properties of the muscle-tendon unit and the reflexive muscle contractions to produce force rapidly.
Characteristics: High frequency of muscle activation and minimal ground contact time, making it crucial for activities requiring quick, explosive movements.

Long Stretch-Shortening Cycle

Duration: Typically greater than 250 milliseconds.
Example Movements: Vertical jumps, depth jumps, and countermovement jumps.
Mechanism: Allows more time for force production and utilizes both the elastic properties and the active muscle contractions to generate force.
Characteristics: Longer ground contact time and greater muscle involvement, making it suitable for movements that require more forceful contractions over a longer period.

Importance of Starting with Low-Amplitude Plyometrics

Starting with low-amplitude plyometrics (low-intensity exercises) is essential for several reasons:

Building a Strength Foundation: Low-amplitude plyometrics help in developing the fundamental strength required to handle the higher forces and stresses involved in more intense plyometric exercises.

Technique Mastery: Performing low-intensity plyometrics allows athletes to focus on proper technique and form, reducing the risk of injury when progressing to more demanding exercises.

Injury Prevention: Gradually introducing the body to plyometric exercises helps in conditioning the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, thereby minimizing the risk of injury due to sudden high-impact forces.

Neuromuscular Adaptation: Low-amplitude exercises enhance neuromuscular coordination and efficiency, preparing the athlete’s nervous system for more complex and explosive movements.

Progressive Overload: Gradually increasing the intensity and volume of plyometric exercises ensures a safe and effective progression, allowing the body to adapt without being overwhelmed.

Key Concepts in Plyometric Training Progression

Begin with Basic Movements: Start with exercises like line hops, jump rope, and low box jumps. These exercises emphasize quick, light contacts with the ground and help in developing the reactive strength needed for more intense plyometrics.

Focus on Form: Ensure proper alignment and technique during these initial exercises to build a solid foundation and reduce injury risks.

Incremental Increase: Slowly increase the height of jumps, the distance of bounds, and the complexity of movements as the athlete becomes more proficient and demonstrates improved strength and coordination.

Monitor and Adjust: Continuously monitor the athlete’s performance and adjust the training program based on their progress, ensuring that they are not progressing too quickly and are maintaining proper form.

Practical Application in Training

– Phase 1: Low-Amplitude PlyometricsExercises: Line hops, ankle bounces, low box jumps.
Focus: Technique, neuromuscular adaptation, foundational strength.
– Phase 2: Intermediate PlyometricsExercises: Tuck jumps, bounding, higher box jumps.
Focus: Increasing intensity, maintaining technique, enhancing power.
– Phase 3: High-Amplitude PlyometricsExercises: Depth jumps, single-leg hops, explosive bounding.
Focus: Maximal force production, minimal ground contact time, peak power development.
Conclusion

Plyometric training is an essential component of athletic development, enhancing power, speed, and overall performance. Understanding the key traits of effective plyometric training—such as progressive overload, specificity, and proper technique—ensures that athletes can maximize their benefits while minimizing the risk of injury.

The distinction between short and long stretch-shortening cycles highlights the importance of tailored personal training approaches to meet the specific demands of various sports and activities. Starting with low-amplitude plyometrics is crucial for building a solid foundation, mastering technique, and preparing the body for more intense exercises. This gradual progression not only enhances neuromuscular adaptation and efficiency but also safeguards against injury.

Incorporating these principles into a well-structured plyometric training program and HIIT workout can significantly impact an athlete’s ground contact time, translating to improved explosive performance and overall athletic capability. By adhering to these guidelines, coaches and athletes can effectively harness the power of plyometric training to achieve their performance goals.

References
Komi, P. V. (2000). Stretch-shortening cycle: a powerful model to study normal and fatigued muscle. Journal of Biomechanics, 33(10), 1197-1206.
A detailed examination of the stretch-shortening cycle and its implications for muscle performance.
Potach, D. H., & Chu, D. A. (2016). Plyometric training. In Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (4th ed., pp. 471-512). Human Kinetics.Provides comprehensive guidelines on plyometric training, including progression and technique.
Markovic, G., & Mikulic, P. (2010). Neuro-musculoskeletal and performance adaptations to lower-extremity plyometric training: A review. Sports Medicine, 40(10), 859-895.Reviews the adaptations resulting from plyometric training and its effects on athletic performance.
Ramirez-Campillo, R., et al. (2018). Plyometric jump training and its influence on muscle function, muscle power, and maximal-intensity exercise performance in professional soccer players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 32(4), 911-920.

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Athletix is a Fitness and Athletic development centre in the heart of Brisbane (Fortitude Valley) offering Group Classes in Strength, Speed & Agility, Conditioning, Sprint mechanics, Pilates, Mobility and more. Book an Introductory Class Today!

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