One of my favourite coaches Buddy Morris often says that his athletes warm-up to train, they do not train to warm-up. The first time that I heard this statement it made a lot of sense to me. I have since made a point to increase the amount of warming up that my athletes complete prior to their training sessions. As discussed in a previous article on the RAMP warm-up a proper warm-up structure contains a lot of different elements one of these some form of plyometrics. A well structured warm-up can have a drastic impact on the readiness of the athlete. A planned warm up can: reduce injury potential, increase athletic performance. The warm up has these effects by increasing tissue warmth, improving range of motion, improving movement quality, and enhancing blood flow. Revisiting the RAMP warm-up where the P stands for “Potentiate” the inclusion of sprints, plyos, and jumps can create a potentiating effect on the nervous system which will enhance subsequent power production abilities for the session.
Do Plyometrics Increase Performance?
Recently a study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness evaluated the ability for a warm-up that included plyometrics to enhance 20 and 40m Sprint times. The researchers took 10 male track and field athletes and at two different times tested their 40m sprint time with a 20m split time taken. At each test the group was divided in two and each group was either given a traditional warm-up, or traditional warm-up with plyometrics. The warm up exercises were given in a random order to control for possible order effects. The plyometrics warm up included multiple sets of squat jumps with an 11.2kg weight plate which was roughly 12.8-16.6% of each athlete’s bodyweight.
So what were the results? Both the sprint times for the 20m and 40m were significantly faster following the warm-up that included plyometrics. This is not very surprising however it does give some great insight to athletes wanting to improve their warm-ups. This illuminates the potential importance of including some plyometric exercises (jumps, depth jumps, etc.) in the warm-up for the subsequent performance benefit. Thus any coach looking to improve performance for their event should certainly consider adding some of this type of work to their progressive warm-up.
Creekmur, CC., et al. Effects of plyometrics performed during warm-up on 20 and 40 meter sprint performance. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness.