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Jumping isn’t just for when we are young …….

Plyometric Exercises: Boosting Strength, Balance, and Bone Mineral Density When it comes to fitness, there's a wide range of exercise modalities that cater to different goals. Among these, plyometric exercises have gained significant attention due to their ability to enhance strength, balance, and even bone mineral density. In this blog, we'll delve into the world of plyometric exercises, exploring their benefits backed by evidence, and how they can complement other forms of training like Pilates and resistance training.

Understanding Plyometric Exercises: Plyometric exercises, also known as "jump training," involve explosive movements that leverage the stretch-shortening cycle of muscles. This cycle occurs when a muscle is rapidly lengthened (eccentric phase) and then immediately contracted (concentric phase), producing powerful and forceful movements. Common examples of plyometric exercises include box jumps, clap push-ups, and squat jumps.

Benefits of Plyometric Exercises:

Enhanced Strength: Plyometric exercises recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are responsible for generating explosive power. This contributes to increased muscle strength and power, especially in the lower body.

  1. Improved Balance and Coordination: Plyometrics challenge your body's ability to maintain stability during rapid movements. This improves neuromuscular coordination and enhances balance, reducing the risk of falls and injuries.

  2. Increased Bone Mineral Density: Bone health is a crucial aspect of overall fitness, and plyometric exercises have been shown to promote bone mineral density. The impact forces generated during these exercises stimulate bone remodelling, leading to stronger bones and a reduced risk of osteoporosis.

Evidence Supporting the Benefits:

Strength Enhancement: A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (2003) examined the effects of plyometric training on muscle strength. The researchers found that participants who underwent an 8-week plyometric training program experienced significant improvements in strength compared to those who did not engage in plyometrics.

  1. Balance and Coordination: A study published in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity (2009) focused on the effects of plyometric training on balance in older adults. The results showed that plyometric training improved balance and functional performance, suggesting its potential for fall prevention.

  2. Bone Mineral Density: Research published in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine (2016) investigated the effects of plyometric training on bone density in premenopausal women. The study found that participants who engaged in plyometric exercises experienced increased bone mineral density in the lumbar spine and femoral neck.

Complementing Other Training Modalities: Plyometric exercises can be seamlessly integrated into various fitness routines, including Pilates and resistance training. While Pilates emphasizes core strength, flexibility, and alignment, plyometrics can add an element of dynamic movement and cardiovascular conditioning. Similarly, incorporating plyometrics into resistance training such as reformer Pilates can enhance power and explosiveness, further intensifying the benefits of both training modalities. Plyometric exercises offer a multitude of benefits, from boosting strength and balance to increasing bone mineral density. Backed by scientific evidence, these explosive movements can be a valuable addition to your fitness regimen. By combining plyometrics with other training modalities like Pilates and resistance training, you can create a well-rounded workout routine that caters to various aspects of physical fitness.

As always, it's advisable to consult a fitness professional before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have existing health conditions or concerns.

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