A literature overview of plyometrics as an exercise technique
The purpose of this review study was to give a literature overview of the definition of plyometrics to explain the physiological principles that underlie plyometric training, to analyse the literature of the past six years so as to determine the effects of plyometric and combined programmes on a wide variety of performance components and finally, to give exercise guidelines for compiling and presenting plyometric programmes. The available literature that pertains to plyometric training and programmes was analysed under two categories, namely: firstly, studies (11) that dealt with the effects of plyometric programmes and exercises; and secondly, studies (9) that dealt with the effects of combined plyometric programmes and exercises. The results demonstrated that plyometric programmes have a significantly positive effect on explosive power, flight time and maximal isotonic and isometric leg muscle strength, average leg muscle endurance, isokinetic peak torque of the leg and shoulder musculature, range of ankle motion, speed, electrical muscle activity, ground contact time during sprinting activities and the amortization time during execution of plyometric exercises. Studies of combined plyometric programmes concluded that these programmes have a significantly more beneficial effect on leg explosive power, flight and ground time between jumps, running economy, adductor muscle activity area, mean and peak, golf club speed and driving distance, 3 km running time, respiratory exchange ratio, maximal isometric strength, maximal voluntary muscle contraction values, volley-ball spike execution, proprioception, kinaesthesia, time to peak torque, amortization time and torque decrement of the shoulder musculature and hamstring peak torque than sport specific or non plyometric programmes alone. Some of these last-mentioned benefits can possibly help improve the sport performances of volley-ball players, long distance and tumbler athletes and of golfers.
Keywords: Plyometrics; Plyometric training; Explosive power; Stretch-shortening cycle; Physiology; Effects; Guidelines.
South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation Vol. 29 (1) 2007: pp. 61-82