|Plyometrics have been used for years as an effective
conditioning tool. They are commonly associated with high-intensity
training for explosive athletic performance. They are used
to enable athletes to increase speed and strength .... where speed
+ strength = power. The concept is increased power will
translate into improved performance. Which seems pretty
valid, in most situations. Plyometrics for the lower extremity
involve a variety of jumping and hopping activities.
Plyometrics use the force of body weight and gravity in a dynamic
manner to provide the training effect. Physiologically,
muscles that rapidly contract can develop "stronger than normal"
forces, due to the complex reflexes associated with muscles,
tendons and joints. Basically each movement uses a "loading"
or "cocking" phase that is followed by an explosive movement
|Plyometrics are also widely used, in
a less intense manner, in the rehabilitation of many athletic
injuries. In addition to increasing conditioning they also
increase or facilitate functional motor patterns, reflexes, and
proprioception. All of which are crucial in the attempt
to return an athlete to competition.
Recently the use of lower- extremity plyometrics have received
attention as a possible aid in the prevention of noncontact
ACL injuries. While it is still early regarding research,
I feel they will turn out to be a crucial component in the reduction
of these injuries. It seems many of these ACL injuries
are related to poor neuromuscular control in the injured athletes.
Translated, that means that some athletes have poor technique
in jumping, landing, stopping, and or turning. Poor technique
increases the stress on the ACL and removes it from the muscles
Proper plyometric training can decrease the force and torque
placed on the knee. Proper technique increases the load
placed on the muscles and tendons (where it should be) and removes
it from the joint and ligaments. It seems the very things
plyometrics train, functional motor patterns, reflexes and proprioception,
are instrumental in the prevention of ACL injuries.
|Broden BP, Griffin LY, Garret WE. Etiology and
prevention of Noncontact ACL Injury. The Physician
& SportsMedicine. 2000;28(4), 53-60.
Swanik BC, Swanik KA. Plyometrics in rehabilitating the
lower extremity. Athletic Therapy Today. 1999;4(3),
Chu DA. Plyometrics in sports injury rehabilitation and
training. Athletic Therapy Today. 1999;4(3), 7-11.