Optimizing Plyometric Training
Plyometric training is one of the most misunderstood aspects of strength and conditioning. Too often we see athletes undergo extensive plyometric sessions year round. The problem is that in-season, the athlete is already doing a lot of plyometric work playing their sport. Adding more explosive work to the training week can become rather ineffective, as central nervous system fatigue can reach a point of diminishing return.
The key with plyometric work is to focus on quality over quantity. Plyometric training is the fastest of all training modalities, for this reason, the most effective way to progress is by training in a rested state. Cumulative fatigue will not only negatively affect progress, but may even lead to a regression in performance.
Even though in some cases plyometric work can be trained year round if well planned, it is advisable to implement it during the off-season and for no longer than 12 weeks.
In a training phase, the athlete can typically undergo 2 Plyometric sessions per week, preferably done on the morning of a Lower Body day performed later in the afternoon.
Because the training goal is to create as short a ground contact time as possible, quality of work becomes imperative and sets lasting a maximum of 20 seconds should be the norm.
Because plyometric training has such a specific training effect, it’s better to do more sets of fewer exercises rather than few sets of multiple exercises.
Here is an example of a plyometric program for the last phase of the Specific Preparation of a soccer player:
*Rest 90-120 seconds between sets
A Cone One-Leg Alternated Jumps 5 x 6
B Depth Jump & Reach 10 x 4
C Deca Jump 3 x 1
A Tuck Jumps 5 x 6
B Hurdle Jump with Forward Jump 10 x 4
C Alternated Split Squat Jumps 5 x 6
A Cone One-Leg Alternated Jumps 6 x 6
B Depth Jump & Reach 11 x 4
C Deca Jump 4 x 1
A Tuck Jumps 6 x 6
B Hurdle Jump with Forward Jump 11 x 4
C Alternated Split Squat Jumps 6 x 6
A Cone One-Leg Alternated Jumps 7 x 6
B Depth Jump & Reach 12 x 4
C Deca Jump 5 x 1
A Tuck Jumps 7 x 6
B Hurdle Jump with Forward Jump 12 x 4
C Alternated Split Squat Jumps 7 x 6