This is the first in our Super Dooper Tuesday series from our sports science Guru, Kiara Johnson. We hope you enjoy it. Stay tuned for coming weeks and if you have any questions about this topic leave a comment below.
Also if you have a topic you would like Kiara to research let us know!
Have you attempted a few fun runs before and would now like to improve your performance? Well I have the perfect solution for you… Plyometrics!
Research has shown that undertaking plyometric training at least once per week can significantly improve 5 and 10 km running performance.
Plyometrics refers to exercise that enables a muscle to reach maximum force in the shortest possible time. The muscle is loaded with an eccentric (lengthening) action, followed immediately by a concentric (shortening) action. Think about a rubber band, you will create more force if you stretch it (lengthening action), followed by flicking it (not at anyone of course!).
All plyometric exercises involve 3 phases. The first phase is the pre-stretch where elastic energy is generated and stored. The second phase is the time between the end of the pre-stretch and the start of the shortening muscle action. The shorter this phase is, the more powerful the subsequent contraction will be. The third and final phase is the actual muscle contraction i.e. the powerful throw or jump.
There are a range of exercises involved from basic to more advanced exercises. An example of a basic plyometric exercise is skipping; a medium difficulty exercise is squat jumps and an example of a more advanced exercise is depth jumps. Be very cautious when implementing these types of exercises as there is a risk of injury if not done properly.
So ask your trainer to add some plyometric training to your program!
To view some great basic images of plyometric training at their original source follow this link: http://bit.ly/dMyWP4