Plyometrics or ‘jump training’ are a series of exercises that help muscles burst an explosion of maximum energy in a short interval of time. The focus of plyometrics is to help increase power through specialized repeated jumping and explosive exertion. The muscles are meant to go rapidly extend and contract, allowing the body to activate a quick response.
Although the term may have been coined by US Olympic long-distance runner Fred Wilt, the concept of plyometric jump training was first demonstrated by Russian athletes during their warm-ups. During one of their track and field events, Wilt noticed many Russians performing jumps rather than simply stretching in one still position like his fellow Americans.
Upon learning that Michael Yessis – a US teacher and sports performance trainer – had been working in the field of Russian training methods, Wilt immediately got together to learn more about this type of exercise. Collaborating, the two eventually based most of the research they brought and disseminated in the US from Russia, using a lot of their knowledge from Yessis work with Yuri Verkhoshansky – author and researcher in special strength training.
What was known as ‘the Shock Method of Sports Training’ was first introduced by Verkhoshansky in the late 1960’s. Although he had received very little attention for this research, everything written in his books is widely used in modern sports training theory. According to Verkhoshansky, there are five rules that to effective special strength training (SST):
Since plyometrics helps develop the body to explode from a static position, its applications to martial arts are incomparable to anything else. Not only will they allow for more powerful kicks and punches – the basic moves for most martial art styles – but it can also improve one’s agility as well. The following are just a few plyometric exercises that help martial artists improve their body for faster reflexes, higher jumps, and greater strength:
These are just some of the basic moves that can be done to help any martial artist strengthen their body. However, it must be noted, careful attention to posture and execution should be considered with every exercise, since doing it incorrectly may result in injury.