Plyometrics refers to a specialized type of training used to produce explosive muscular reactions. You’ve likely seen plyometrics on TV or in magazines in the form of a Nike or Adidas commercial. It looks something like this. Some supremely fit man or woman performing exercises like running stairs, jumping over boxes or maybe doing wind sprints in a park. Using a weighted vest to enhance plyometric training is an effective way to achieve explosive results in your training and you don’t have to be a T.V. athlete to effectively use this technique.
What exactly is plyometric training?
Specifically, plyometric training is used to toughen muscle tissues and train nerves to respond quickly and powerfully to a specific movement to achieve a greater power response. Plyometric training is more than just strength training though. Once your muscles are strong, plyometric training uses your muscle strength to create power with specific movement. It’s similar to the concept of muscle memory. Perform an exercise enough and with good form and you will develop an almost instinctual explosive power.
Who is plyometcric training for?
Plyometrics can be used to enhance virtually any sports performance. Plyometrics is commonly used by athletes who are:
-Mountain bike racers
-Road bike racers
-Mixed martial artists
These athletes use plyometrics to hit harder, run faster, jump higher or throw farther
Using a weighted vest adds additional resistance to your plyometric training. Weighted vests typically come in various sizes and will add anywhere from a few pounds up to 50lbs per vest.
A famous Finnish scientist named Heikki Rusko has performed significant scientific investigations on the results of weight vest training. In his investigation, athletes who wore weight vests during daily activities and also trained three times per week with the vests improved both VO2max, lactate threshold and increased endurance during high-speed running by 25%.
Effectively implementing plyometric training with a weighted vest:
There are some important tips to keep in mind if you are going to start plyometric training with a weight vest. These include:
1. Start slowly and focus on form: start your plyometric training before you implement a weighted vest into your workout. Make sure you have very good form in your workouts. When you add the weighted vest you will be increasing the force on your muscles greatly and you want to have base strength to handle those forces.
2. Start with about 2% of your bodyweight and gradually increase to about 10% of your bodyweight.
3. Wear your weight vest all day not just during your workouts.
There are many companies that make good weighted vests out there. One of the best is this product recommended by a triathlete. It is the best looking and most comfortable adjustable weight vest on the market. Men’s Health magazine named the this particular weight vest one of it’s top products of 2009 saying it’s, «the best weight vest we have found.»
When you are ready for the next level, plyometrics with weighted vests is a great way to go.