Strength training is essential! 'Plyo' exercises are a great and fun way to add some spice to your running routine!
What is Plyometric Training?
Plyometric training involves fast, dynamic jumping movements that boost the strength and power of the muscles. This training is otherwise called the “shock method” and it takes serious willpower to push through these training sessions.
Have you ever observed Usain Bolt jump up and down with high knees each time before his 100-meter sprint? He does that to prepare his muscles for the fast-twitch motion required in the sprint. But you can be sure that that Bolt includes a lot of plyometrics into his training routine as well, so those small bursts are just a reminder to the muscles.
Sometimes a lot of people have this misconception that plyometric training means they would have to hook themselves to electrical wires and gadgets (probably because of the fancy name), but that’s not true. Plyometric training is relatively simple and can be done without any extra equipment.
How Plyometrics Can Make You a Better Runner
As a runner, plyometric training can help improve your muscle’s ability to store energy. And as more energy is stored, it helps you keep up a given pace using reduced overall energy. In fact, your overall aerobic efficiency would improve.
A large portion of your propulsive energy (every time you push your body forward to take another step) is supplied from the energy stored in your legs. This is usually as a result of the impact you initially made with the ground. This is what plyometric training helps you achieve; it helps you train your muscles to store up more energy and utilise that energy to propel you further.
Plyometric training can make you a better runner by improving the neuromuscular and elastic characteristics of your muscles. This makes your muscles contract more quickly and forcefully from an actively pre-stretched position.
Several studies have proven that incorporating plyometrics into a training regimen helps to improve a runner’s efficiency at shorter distances up to 10K. One study conducted on beginner runners revealed that they demonstrated a 2.3% improvement in their running economy at speeds between 10:00 and 7: 30-mile pace. This means that they used less oxygen at these speeds than what they burned before the plyometric training.
However, other studies have shown that plyometric training have greater benefits for more experienced runners because they are more likely to be training optimally. This implies that the faster you’re trying to run, the more important muscle elasticity and explosiveness become.
Plyometric exercises can become rather complex but if you master the basic jumps, you'll be flying through your PR's in no time. Watch the video below for a visual representation of which exercises you should include in your strength routine.
How to Incorporate Plyometric Training Into Your Routine
Plyometric training requires a fast and strong recruitment of muscle fibers; therefore, you should take them at the latter stage of your strength training session. Plyometric training is considered an advanced form of training so be sure to take it easy if you're still new to the fitness world.
As a beginner, eight to ten weeks of general strength and core workout is good before incorporating plyometrics into your routine. More so, try to practice good form when implementing plyometric training exercises to avoid sustaining an injury (ankles and knees aligned with hips). You must ensure you have the proper strength, rhythm and coordination to mitigate potential issues with the form. The video below will help you with this information.
Again, you can perform your plyometric training after your hardest workout sessions. You can do them after your speed workouts because you‘re engaging the same muscle fibers in equal bouts of explosive recruitment. However, no plyometric routine is better than the other. You will become a better runner as long as the exercises are specific to running.
Creating Your Runner Profile
After obliterating personal records with your newly-found super strength (from Plyo workouts) you'll want to keep all of your race performances saved - that's where RunPage comes in. RunPage allows you to create an individual page (called a RunPage) where you can add all the details of your race and save them! After creating several RunPage's you will have built your personal Runner Profile with all of the races you've saved.
Share your RunPage on social media and let your friends show their support by clicking on the CHEER button! Start building your RunPage here!
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