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Times of India
01 July 2008

Put your shoes on and jump start a power–packed exercise program as fitness expert Namita Jain teaches you what Plyometrics is
What are Plyometrics?
Plyometric refers to controlled jumps, leaps and bounds. Speed and strength are integral components of fitness found in varying degrees in virtually all athletic movements. When an athlete jumps, a great amount of force is required to propel the body upward, the body must be able to flex and extend quickly to leave the ground.

The combination of speed and strength is power. For many years coaches have sought to improve power in order to enhance performance. The distinct method of training for this power or explosiveness has been termed ‘plyometrics’.

These movements were first used in training by the Eastern European countries for Olympic competitions. Perfected by the Russian and Eastern European track and field athletes in the mid–60's, this training method has gained worldwide acceptance and credibility through scientific research.

Popular with Athletes
Different sports require development of specific skills. For example, a basketball player drives to the goal to slam–dunk the ball, on his last step he unloads the ‘spring’ the second he touches the ground. The training of ‘springs’ (in the muscles), is plyometric training and is an integral part of athletic training.

Are these movements designed only for athletes?
You don't have to be an athlete to perform power moves. If you want to challenge your training style, you can incorporate this method of training to suit your goals and fitness ability.

Plyometrics training is an excellent way to develop explosive power and acceleration. This type of training utilises highenergy stores, burns fat and challenges the body and mind.

This training is just the kind of stimulus needed by the body and mind to break through a plateau and bring out that pro–athlete in you.

It is important to ensure that the body is free of any ailment and well–trained before attempting such exercises. Individuals with a history of stress–induced injuries to the feet, ankle, shin, knees, hips or lower back should not perform plyometric moves.

Guidelines Warm up
Warming up is crucial. Spend 10 minutes marching or jogging followed by 10 minutes of stretching the muscles involved.
How often
One or two sessions per week.
Always progress gradually – when your body gets accustomed to these moves then take the intensity level higher.

Plyometric Moves Circle Turn
Begin by standing upright with your feet shoulder–width apart. Bend at the knees and jump 90 degrees clockwise, then jump back to starting position.

Track jump
Take an athletic stance with your feet shoulder–width apart and your knees slightly bent. Now to initiate each jump, bend your knees to a half squat position, then instantly leap up into the air. Once airborne, use you hip flexors and your abs to pull your knees as high as possible up to your chest. Upon landing come back into that squat position to reduce impact on your joints.

Overhead Ball Throw
Face a wall and hold a ball with both hands in front of your body. To begin the movement explosively leap up and throw the ball at the wall. Contract your abs as you release the ball and then catch the ball when you land on the ground.

Lateral Hop
In this exercise you jump back and forth laterally on a low bench or over a line drawn on the ground. Stand in an athletic position (knees bent, leaning forward slightly on the balls of your feet) land on the other side of the bench or line. Continue to jump laterally over the obstacle for the desired number of reps.

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