Updated: Apr 12
Plyometrics help train our bodies to properly absorb forces and develop greater power, which are two very important factors in running. What are the benefits of plyometrics?
Improves running efficiency
Enhances running speed and endurance (yes, endurance!)
Boosts power and velocity with movement
Raises reaction time
To simplify: plyometrics not only helps to prevent injury, it also enhances performance, which allows us to tolerate the loading that occurs during running. All of this helps us become faster, stronger and more powerful. Assessing Loading Levels: When beginning a plyometric program with runners & athletes, it is important to consider their prior level of activity, age, health status, injury history, as well as their overall ability to properly perform the activity. This will help to determine an appropriate starting point. Below is a video of the plyometric progression that we utilize to test an individual's plyometric ability and ensure that they start at a proper level and intensity. When evaluating an individual's performance, quality > quantity, examining the form with the eccentric phase all the way through to landing phase is very important to ensure proper prescription of exercise, proper benefits with training and avoiding injury. The Loading Levels Assessment (the level at which the athlete’s form starts to deteriorate) will guide the starting point for your plyometric training program for that runner. What constitutes failure at a specific level of the plyo progression?
Inability to maintain balance
Knees collapse inward
Opposite hip drops during single leg jump
Pain with movement
In the video you will see that I start to fail at the depth jump with quick recovery to hurdle, so this is where I’d start my plyometric training.
How much plyometric training is enough? Athletes really only need between 60-100 foot contacts per plyometric training session. Beginners should start closer to 60 contacts per session and progress up towards 100. Increased number of foot contacts beyond 100 per session does not correspond to an increase in performance. It is recommended that athletes who run perform plyometric training 2x per week to allow adequate recovery time between sessions. You also want to consider this recovery period when scheduling sessions around games or races. Get the full details about the Loading Levels Assessment in our Level 2 Certified Running Gait Analyst Course.
This blog written in conjunction with Dr. Brianne Scott PT, DPT, Level 2 CRGA OCS, CSCS, RunDNA Resident Certified Running Gait Analyst, & Omega Project Co-Founder