An increase in speed and power is an aim of all athletes, and plyometrics are your answer to quickness and increased speed.
Unlike typical strength training exercises that involve long, slow movements designed to increase muscular strength and mass, plyometric training consists of quick, explosive movements designed to increase speed and power. They are specialized, high impact, advanced movements including box jumps, squat jumps and jump rope.
The main goal of plyometric exercises is to increase the speed of muscle contractions, this happens by increasing the strength of the muscle fibers responsible for converting strength into speed. The stronger your muscle fibers, the faster the muscle contraction, the more power and speed you will have as an athlete. Plyometrics also help strengthen your tendons which support the function of your muscles, leading to less injuries.
Ultimately, with greater power comes better performance. Plyometrics can help with your performance in a range of sports, including weight lifting. Such exercises can help decrease the time it takes for a lifter to reach maximum force and improve their power output, which means more gains.
The best time to build explosive power with plyometrics is to schedule them at the start of your workout, directly after warming up. Make sure your muscles are ready to jump by doing a couple of minutes of warm cardio before you begin. Plyometrics are extremely energy demanding, so doing them at the start of your workout is important to ensure you have enough energy and stamina to do them correctly and without injury.
Although useful for performance, plyometric exercises can be taxing on the joints, muscles, and connective tissue. Always make sure when jumping that you are landing with soft knees to absorb the impact, and wear shoes that are well cushioned. Landing softly on your toes then rolling onto your heels is also recommended to spread out the impact of the jump and put less pressure on your knees.