In all kinds of sports and exercise, a combination of speed and strength always comes into play. When speed and strength are combined, the resulting force is power. Power is different from strength alone although they are similar in nature. In power you add the time component—how fast you can perform a certain routine. For instance in a sprint all of the contestants will definitely have the strength to finish the race, but the person who finishes first and can catapult himself through the finish line fastest has the most power. Pylometric exercises are concerned with the business of developing power. This is done through eccentric contraction to be immediately followed by concentric contraction. To explain more plainly, pylometric exercises involves stretching a muscle before contracting it, building a sort of momentum to increase power not unlike how a gun works. Here are some examples of simple pylometric exercises:
- Vertical jump—a person jumps, stretching as much as he can in the air before contracting his body once he reaches the ground and using this contraction he propels himself through the air once more with more powerful force than before.
- Push ups with claps—the pecs are elongated and loaded by the force pushing downwards and immediately after the clap you need to lower yourself down and push yourself up
Performing pylometric exercises is one of the best ways to improve strength. Athletes do this all the time in order to enable their muscles to contract very fast during sporting activities. Pylometrics work on the principle that the muscles must first be loaded with energy before it can contract faster. An example of this would be starting a jump using a downward motion to crouch then jumping explosively. This gives a person more power in his jump than if he had started simply crouching down.
There are simple pylometric movements but compared to many other exercises, pylometrics tend to involve more force and the use of joints. Is it potentially dangerous? For the unconditioned, yes. It is advisable to build your muscles and endurance level before taking on pylometric exercises. Ideally, pylometric exercises should not be taken on by beginners.
In pylometrics, the emphasis is more on the quality of the exercises and not so much the quantity. The emphasis is more on speed rather than endurance when it comes to pylometrics so it is recommended not to perform too many sets to the point of exhaustion. It is best to divide the sets with enough time to rest and recover in between sessions.
When taking on pylometric exercises, keep the following in mind:
- Start with exercises that are fast and explosive. These exercises should be designed to enhance your elastic strength.
- You should likewise work with exercises that develop your concentric strength.
- Eccentric strength should also be considered in the exercise.