Plyo Training for Strength

There’s no question that traditional weight training has proven beneficial when we’re looking to put on slabs of lean muscle mass. However, some trainees have found that prolonged strength training can lead you to some common obstacles, namely boredom and the inevitable training plateau. In an effort to avoid these barriers it may be time to switch things up for a few weeks and try something a little different – confuse your body back into a growth phase. Taking 2 – 4 weeks off of traditional weight training and switching to a plyometric program will help stir you clear of boredom, and ultimately spur your body back into a stage where lean muscle mass development will again be on the rise.

A Short History of Plyometrics

andre box jump

Popularized in the early 19080’s, the term plyometrics was coined by Fred Wilt, an American long distance runner, who in partnership with a Russian sports scientist who had already been working in the field, was looking to increase the speed, quickness and power of professional athletes with new and innovative methods. Plyometrics is best defined as “any movement that involves fast eccentric muscle actions followed by an explosive concentric action”. The most common plyo movements are the depth jump and the box jump, which demonstrate the type of explosiveness which plyometrics is based on.

How Does It Work?


Plyometrics work to promote strength through the combination of skill and power. The combination of these training aspects attacks your plateaus in two ways. First, if plyometrics are a foreign concept to you, any neglected muscles fibers and/or tendons are in for a shock as they are incorporated into your training. This occurs because agility training experienced through plyos attacks the muscle spindles which are activated through different forms of dynamic training. These receptors, which can be missed in traditional weight training, are attached to the spinal cord and help to improve speed and reaction time. Through the inclusion of these dynamic movements you will be raising nervous systems activity, reducing response time, and increasing coordination. You will be surprised to see what kind of pain a couple new body weight exercises can cause.

Second, taking time off traditional weight training allows your regularly trained muscles a sufficient amount of time for complete rest and recovery. Many gym warriors fear a week off of training will result in an astronomical amount of muscle loss. A quick shift to plyos one to two times a week will not only allow your regularly trained muscles time to recover, but you can experience an intense full body workout, without taking an entire week off of the gym.

A Word of Caution

Not used to endurance training? You may find the first couple sessions in the gym to be a challenge. Due to its strain on tendons, muscles, and the central nervous system, plyos require a slow progression from basic foundation exercises, such as ankle toe jumps, to more intense techniques such as box jumps. Since plyos typically work with two of your bodies’ ATP-CP and Glycolytic energy systems, more muscle heat will be triggered during this type of training. So, if you are a stranger to cardiovascular training start by incorporating breaks where needed and slowly progress to shorter rest periods. This will aid in safely building the spindle muscles and avoiding injury.

10 Popular Plyometric Exercises

  1. Squat Jumps
  2. Squat Jacks
  3. Alternate Leg Diagonal Bound
  4. Box Jump
  5. Plie Squat Jump
  6. Tuck Jump
  7. Depth Jump
  8. Speed Skaters
  9. Jumping Lunge
  10. Broad Jumps


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