Thursday, September 10, 2009

Plyometrics - Speed and Power

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I never was a sports minded person, as a teen I was more apt to be found wearing headphones than cleets, more likely to found riding around with friends than running with the team.  It's odd that now, in my forties I suddenly have the desire to increase my speed, dexterity and power.

Doing the INSANITY work out, has affected the way I am looking at fitness overall.  Prior to this workout, my goals were asthetic, weightloss and appearence.  Now, having reached (and passed) my target weight, my motivations have become more atheletic.  I want to increase my speed, power and endurance, while at the same time working on my flexibility.

I was discussing these goals with some gym rats, and the HBO show Hard Knocks was mentioned.  Hard Knocks follows the Cinncinatti Bengals football team through their training camp.  Watching that show, it is amazing the speed and footwork some the bigger guys have.  Many of the drills that they go through are mirrored in INSANITY moves, such as Football Sprints, Hurdles, Power Jumps, and the various jacks.

All of these types of drills and exercise fall in the category of Plyometrics, this definition is from WIkipedia

Plyometrics is a type of exercise training designed to produce fast, powerful movements, and improve the functions of the nervous system, generally for the purpose of improving performance in sports. Plyometric movements, in which a muscle is loaded and then contracted in rapid sequence, use the strength, elasticity and innervation of muscle and surrounding tissues to jump higher, run faster, throw farther, or hit harder, depending on the desired training goal. Plyometrics is used to increase the speed or force of muscular contractions, often with the goal of increasing the height of a jump.

As I have been researching this method of exercise, I've found most programs are specifically designed for a your target sport, whether it be volleyball, martial arts, soccer, etc.  Insanity does not focus specifically on any one of these sports, combining Football Sprints, Basketball Jumps, Jabs and Uppercuts along with maximum intensity cardio.

A word of caution, many trainers and sports medicine physicians are hesitant to recommend plyometric because they beleive there is an increased risk of injury.  So do some research, talk with your doctor, and decide for yourself. Here are some links to begin your research:

I'll keep you posted on my progress.


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