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Plyometrics, also known as "jump training" or "plyos", are exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal of increasing power (speed-strength). This training focuses on learning to move from a muscle extension to a contraction in a rapid or "explosive" manner, such as in specialized repeated jumping. Plyometrics are primarily used by athletes, especially martial artists, sprinters and high jumpers, to improve performance, and are used in the fitness field to a much lesser degree.
Plyometrics includes explosive powerful training exercises that are trained to activate the quick response and elastic properties of the major muscles in the body. It was Initially made famous by Soviet Olympians in the 1970s, providing the core element in the strength programs of elite sporting athletes worldwide. Sports using plyometrics include basketball, tennis and volleyball as well as the various codes of football.
The term "plyometrics" was coined by Fred Wilt after watching Soviet athletes prepare for their events in track and field; he felt this was a key to their success. He began a collaboration with trainer Michael Yessis of Soviet (Russia)to promote plyometrics.
The second version of plyometrics, seen to a great extent in the United States, relates to doing any form of jump regardless of execution time. Such jumps cannot be considered truly plyometric (as described by Verkhoshansky) since the intensity of execution is much lower and the time required for transitioning from the eccentric to the concentric contraction is much greater. The term plyometrics became very popular with the publication of many books on the subject matter. It now appears impossible to go back to its original meaning and method of execution.
As a result, it is important to distinguish which type of "plyometric" exercise is used in order to determine its effectiveness and potential to receive the stated benefits. Though the name plyometrics is given to all jumps, not all jumps are plyometric.