Plyometrics

As kids we would constantly be jumping around. Our dare would be to jump from great heights. Perhaps the highest I have ever seen anyone is a floor height. More often, it was a couple of feet.  Off we would go. Without realising it, we were training our bodies. For great strength and speed. When you jump from a reasonable height your body goes through a tremendous shock. Your hip, knees and ankles undergo a powerful contraction. To stabilise your body, your body has to bring to bear powerful muscle groups. This creates great tension in the muscles and tendons. This forces a return movement upwards. The faster the change from falling to standing, the greater the power created. Created by Michael Yessis of Russia, this was an exercise performed by athletes training for the Olympics. Over time is was adopted by the Americans and others.

Various exercises have been adapted to benefit from this science. This includes squat jumps, tuck jumps, lateral jumps, power skipping and even a plyometric push up. Athletes have even adapted this to a simple jump. In this version, you don’t worry so much about timing or speed, as much about the jumping and rising. The key was using depth (jumping from some height) to create the shock. Experts do not advocate using anything more than about 24 inches to jump from.

Mark Sisson of marksdailyapple has spoken about sudden and explosive exercises. In his opinion, this is the best form of exercise. This mimics the physical activity that our ancestors would perform. Of course, they were escaping a cheetah. You are only trying to roll out of bed. There is a very diverse range of views on exercise. Some ask you to do High Intensity Interval Training. Some ask you to weight train. Others swear by running. You have to find your own heaven. Don’t be surprised if you see me bounding off your terrace soon.

Disclaimer: jumping from heights is clearly dangerous, especially for kids. This exercise does not require you to jump from anything more than 2 feet. If there are any children reading, please do not attempt to jump from heights. It is  foolish and can lead to significant harm.