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Plyometrics are a great type of exercise with the right population. Do you use plyometrics in your practice? Do you think the younger population should be introduced to plyometrics?


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1. You mentioned a lot of great things with your posting. Plyometrics are a great type of exercise with the right population. Do you use plyometrics in your practice? Do you think the younger population should be introduced to plyometrics?

I first heard about plyometrics exercises from middle school students who played soccer and their parents. It is only appropriate for population who have a coach or trainer who understands the need for plyometrics to be part of an overall exercise regiment, including weight lifting and strengthening of the upper extremities as well as the lower extremities, researchers are concerned that these exercises can otherwise cause injury.

So, although I have not used plyometrics in my practice, when you posted your question, it prompted me to do more research on the topic because I have had students, and parents of students, talk to me about how they had used specific plyometrics exercises to increase their speed, agility and strength for playing soccer, but it was together with all along with an overall strengthening and stretching fitness program.

I have located a document on-line of similar plyometrics and exercises that the student and parents discussed with me, from which part of this response is drawn and referenced. The students, for example, reported that these plyometrics exercises (many of the same ones listed below) were indeed a part of their success story. From a quick look at the information, it is easy to understand this, as these plyometric exercises, when properly done (and within the proper guidelines as discussed below) can be very beneficial to the athlete in terms of balance, motor control, speed, and agility. It is important to follow the guidelines when planning to incorporate plyometrics into a fitness program and to have a trainer/coach that understand the need for an overall fitness program to strengthen the upper extremities, lower extremities, which decreased the chances of injury. The specific plyometrics exercises are designed specific to the sport and to practicing certain arrangements of moves that are common to the sport, which is beneficial at the physiological level, but also at the neurological level as well, due to learning through repetition of certain behavior patterns common to the sport, in this case soccer, (also called rugby).

For example, research suggests that as habits form (through repetition), and that the more you do one activity, your brain structure actually changes in structure in the area that is linked to that part of learning e.g., becomes more dense as shown on a MRI of the brain, in studies. In fact, this is very interesting. As you practice a certain behavior, the neurons in your brain make more neural connections, and that part of your brain associated with the new behavior being practiced becomes denser (as shown on a MRI, for example), the structure of your brain changes, which translates into automatic behavior that becomes second nature. In other words, on the soccer field, the pattern of exercises that the athlete has practiced will be automatic; the athlete will not need time the think about the moves and then decide on what to do. Instead, it will be an automatic response in situation where the behavior is called for. This increases response time e.g., speed.

So, the idea here is to arrange patterns of plyometrics exercises that correspond to the moves on the soccer field and through repetition, the muscles used to respond are flexible and strong in this response. This adds more to the speed (in addition to automatic thinking). Thus, together with automatic habit behavior, flexibility and agility increases the speed and agility of the athlete by the nature of the repeated patterns of plyometrics exercises.

Motor coordination has also been shown to be greatly improved, as the more you do a certain behavior, the more likely you will master that behavior; ...

Solution Summary

Plyometrics are a great type of exercise with the right population. This solution examines the use of plyometrics in practice, and if the younger population should be introduced to plyometrics.