Plyometric Training for Sprinters

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Once the safety precautions of plyometric training are understood and adhered too, a training program can be developed. First and foremost is the frequency of plyometric training. Plyometric training should be done no more than two days per week during the off-season and in only once during the in-season period. Since plyometric training is extremely strenuous, about 36-48 hours of rest is need to fully recover. Therefore, make plyometric training the very last session of the day. Also, due to the fatigue factor associated with this type of training, avoid doing heavy strength training on the same day as plyometric training unless lower body plyometric training is combined with upper body strength training or vice-versa.

To date, there is no magic number of jumps that produces the best results, but taking too few jumps is better than taking too many. Ideally, the number of jumps should not exceed 80-100 /session for beginners and athletes in early workouts, 100-120/session for intermediate athletes, and 120-140/session for advanced athletes who have completed at least 4 weeks of plyometric training.

The performance coach should also examine the intensity, or amount of stress placed upon the muscles and joints when prescribing plyometric exercise. Skipping movements provide minimum stress and are considered low-intensity exercises; box jumping, two foot take-off and landing exercises, high speed movements, and using additional weight, all increase the intensity of the workout. A sound program should progress from low-to high-intensity exercises.

Remember that as a performance coach, you are trying to improve your athlete’s power, not endurance. Thus, stress quality, not quantity to your athletes and allow adequate recovery between repetitions, sets, and workouts.
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