Since the times of Ancient Greece, athletes have explored ways to get stronger, jump higher, and run faster. Each generation of new athletes have attempted to push the barrier and break previous records. It was with this quest in mind that Dr. Yuri Verkhoshansky stumbled upon and created “shock” training. In the Western world, this is known as the plyometric method.
So what exactly is a plyometric? A plyometric exercise is one that utilizes the stretch-shortening cycle or myostatic stretch reflex.
The myostatic stretch reflex occurs when elastic energy is stored within the tendons and muscles following a rapid stretch, such as during an eccentric contraction. If a concentric contraction directly follows, as happens during a plyometric exercise, then the stored energy is released and it contributes to total force production.
If you’re having trouble visualizing this, think of it like stretching and launching a rubber band very quickly. The lengthening/stretching of the rubber band represents the eccentric portion, while the shortening/launching of the rubber band represents the concentric contraction.
While the topic of plyometrics is broad to say the least, this article will specifically cover how late intermediate and advanced lifters can use low intensity plyometric exercises during their warm-up, or within their training, to elicit maximal strength gains utilizing post-activation potentiation (PAP).
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