Monday, July 30, 2007

Jump! - Plyometrics for Youth Basketball

You've heard and seen the ads.
Want to jump higher? Try this!!
Guaranteed to increase your vertical jump by 3-6 inches!!!
Learn the secret behind (insert celebrity athlete's name here)'s athleticism!!
Behind the explosion of products and programs designed to increase your vertical jump, there's a common thread: Plyometrics

What is Plyometrics?

Plyometrics is the use of dynamic movements that involve a rapid stretch of a muscle (eccentric muscle contraction) that is immediately followed by a rapid shortening of a muscle (concentric muscle contraction).
It's a type of exercise that helps muscle fibers learn to contract with more strength and speed which is especially helpful in an explosive sport like basketball.

What's more, childhood may actually be the best time to start plyometric training because a child's neuromuscular system may "learn" it's plyometric lessons more quickly than an adult who trains in a similar fashion.

Why is Plyometrics so Popular?

There are many potential benefits to plyometric exercises, including:

What are Some Different Types of Plyometric Exercises?

When most people think of plyometric exercises, they imagine someone doing jumps over hurdles or off of tall jump boxes while they wear special shoes.

But plyometrics can be as simple as skipping rope or doing jumping jacks. There are hundreds of exercises with thousands of variations that can be used to design an effective plyometrics program: cone hops, backward hops, single leg jumps, double leg jumps, power skipping, hurdle jumps, box jumps, alternate leg bounding... you get the picture.

Dangers of Plyometrics

Because of its emphasis on quick, repetitive eccentric/concentric muscle contractions, plyometrics tends to cause more muscle damage than some other types of exercises. Too much plyometrics (in amount or intensity) for a teenager can lead to muscle soreness and decreased performance. Too much plyometrics for a younger athlete can lead to tendon injuries.

So what should you look for in a good plyometrics program? More to come.......

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