What Are Plyometrics? They're...

What are plyometrics? Plyometric exercises are some of the best exercises for training fast and powerful movement. Unfortunately, not many people have heard of them or know what they are. So...

Weight training is one of the best methods of strength training! If you want to start weight training safely and effectively, with the best info, diet, and routines, check out the 5 Day Beginner Weight Training Course!

What Are Plyometrics Exercise Stuff?

What are plyometrics? Explosive muscle training!

Plyometrics are exercises that are designed to train your body in fast, explosive movement. They are also sometimes called proprioceptive neuro-muscular facilitation (PNF), since it's designed to make the nervous system more efficient.

All the exercises are designed to make a muscle (or muscle group) contract with maximum force and speed — to make it more powerful.

Power is the amount of force your muscles can produce in a given period of time. So, making a contraction more powerful means that the muscle will be able to produce more force in a shorter amount of time.

How And Why Plyometric Training Works

Plyometric training is able to make your movements more powerful by using several different principles together. The answer to "What are plyometrics doing to me?" is:

  • Plyometrics work by increasing the body's neuro-muscular efficiency. The electrical signals that tell your muscles to contract become more coordinated.
  • They engage the stretch reflex (technically called the myostatic-reflex). If a muscle is rapidly stretched (lengthened) before contracting, it will make an even stronger concentric contraction to protect itself.
  • Muscles don’t want to get strained, so they’ll contract to stop being stretched. Odd, but it's not that much of a stretch to understand. (OK, bad joke, I know.)
  • Plyometrics are done quickly, so you store kinetic energy in your muscles at the bottom of a movement and release it in the explosive part of the movement, like a rubber band getting stretched back before you shoot it at someone. The rubber band flying through the air is your explosive movement.

These 3 principles working together make your muscle contractions more powerful. The neurons get better coordinated so that the muscle contracts all at once.

For Sports and Functional Power

Plyometrics are great for sports and martial arts training. Basically, they're good for any endeavor that needs powerful movement, which makes it saddening when I talk to someone who wants to, say, jump higher, who then asks me, "So, um, what are plyometrics stuff?"

When lifting in the gym, it normally takes up to 0.8 seconds to fully engage a muscle, but most movements in sports happen much faster than that (jumping, swinging a bat, snapping a punch out, etc.). Use plyometric exercises to enhance those movements.

It's also important to strengthen the whole body and get it working together. Having more powerful legs is great, but you need a strong core that will transmit that explosive movement to your upper body as you move forward.


Plyometrics can be great exercise, but they are strenuous and can really injure you.[1] Follow these guidelines to keep your workouts fruitful and safe.

  • Remember that you're looking to work on muscle contraction efficiency, not to build more strength or endurance. So, your whole workout should contain no more than 75 to 100 reps for your whole body.
  • Since these exercises all involve impact, it’s easy to injure yourself while doing them. Use correct technique.
  • To minimize that impact, they should always be done on soft surfaces. Grass, gymnastics mats, and sprung floors are all good choices.

Never do plyometrics on linoleum or concrete.

  • For lower body plyometric exercises, you should be squatting not less than 1 to 1.5 times your body weight before you start practicing these exercises. Doing them without a good foundation of strength is a sure way to hurt yourself.
  • For upper body plyometric exercises, you should be able to bench press 80 to 100% of your body weight to avoid injury.
  • Kids under age 13 should use a lower number of repetitions.

Moving Forward...

By now you have a handle on plyometric exercises and why they work. So, when someone asks you, "what are plyometrics?" you can give them a good, helpful answer.

Oh, and be sure to sign up for the e-zine Starting Strong to get monthly strength training, exercise, and diet tips e-mailed to you - and access to the free e-book Train Smart, Eat Smart: Exercise Nutrition Hacks!

• Click HERE to learn more about plyometrics!


• Click HERE to leave 'What Are Plyometrics?' & go back to the Home-page!

What Are Plyometrics? They're...

1. Brooks, George A., Thomas D. Fahey, and Kenneth M. Baldwin. 2005. Exercise Physiology: Human Bioenergetics and Its Applications. Boston: McGraw-Hill. Pp. 401.

Chu, Donald A. 1998. Jumping Into Plyometrics. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Share it! Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Search CST...

The CST Facebook Page!

[?]Subscribe To This Site
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!
  • Add to My MSN
  • Subscribe with Bloglines

"About 2 weeks ago I read all the ab strengthening stuff on your site because I decided I wanted to be strong, instead of having a lot of belly fat. So I started eating healthier, running, exercising, you name it - everything your site said to do to help. Now I am noticing a real difference! Thank you for making this. :D xD"
~ Julia

[This calorie calculator is] the most useful tool on the web that I can find… Also, I compared the calories calculated by your calculator to the calories calculated by the treadmill at my gym, and they're within a couple calories of each other, so yours is as accurate as we're going to get. REALLY AWESOME TOOL. I love it and depend on it. Thank you sooooo much for making this available."
~ Galit Sharon Marcus

Thank you very much, I was too lean before 2 years (55 Kgs), after the gym now I'm 72kgs, all the muscles have developed... when someone hand shakes with me it can be squeezed easily, they're making fun of me!
~ Tamil Arasan