Plyometric Training for Track and Field Athletes
Many track and field athletes use plyometric training; it is commonly associated with jumping activities for all athletes.
To improve speed, power, rhythm, event specific strength and endurance: depending on the exercises, recovery period and repetitions.
Plyometrics work because the exercises improve the rate of contraction by overloading the neuromuscular system. This is achieved by pre-stretching or shortening of the muscle fibers followed by a rapid dynamic post-stretch contraction.
The plyometric progression for track and field athletes should be similar to the training design progression in specific event areas.
-General to Specific
-Simple to Complex
-Volume to Intensity Progression
Always use logical progressions and equipment that will not injure an athlete if the exercise is not executed properly.
For example, take the top off the hurdle and use an old hurdle board over the top, that way if the athlete hits the top of the hurdle, the board falls off and the track and field athlete can continue to complete the work out.
SPRINT START: A series of jumps before a short sprint can develop the explosive drive needed to start the race.
3 double leg jumps followed by a 10-meter sprint.
This exercises helps convert the explosive starting motion into horizontal velocity needed for short sprinters.
DISTANCE RUNNERS: Distance runners love to run, however more balance in training can lead to healthy athletes.
Doing a series of low intensity double leg jumps with the feet together moving down the track from one lane line to the other (ski jumps) for 4x 30 meters as part of a dynamic warm up can improve explosive power in the runner’s finishing kick.
THROWERS: Throwers use plyometrics to improve power to throw far.
One specific exercise for shot-putters is to drop off a 24” box with a light medicine ball and landing in the power position then jumping up and throwing as quickly as possible.
JUMPING EVENTS: All jumpers use plyometric training to increase jumping ability.
Triple jumpers use a series single bounding drills to develop specific strength and endurance.
Overall, plyometric training can help track and field athletes be more explosive, stay healthier and build the necessary event specific qualities to be successful.