Plyometric: to enhance upper body strength
You have a substantial number of options when it comes to getting and staying
in shape. The days of combining a boring
resistance training session with a
cardiovascular workout are gone. With plyometrics circuit training, you can
spice up your workout and add flare to your exercise regimen. This is of utmost
importance when you are trying to get in great shape because adding variety to
your workout keeps your body working at full force. And when your body works its
hardest, you realize the greatest gains.
Upper body plyometric drills allow maximum power to be generated because,
unlike barbells or dumbbells, the medicine ball can be released into the air.
Plyometric drills can be used to convert an athletes maximal strength training
into sport-specific power helping to further improve performance. It is logical
for athletes to seek to increase the rate of force development, because most
sports involve fast movements for which forces must be generated quickly.
During a medicine ball throw the mass of the ball is moved – a
3-5kg ball being
the weight most commonly used by athletes. The force required to produce this
movement comes from the arm muscles, mostly the pectorals, deltoids,
triceps and latissimus dorsi.
In a study, subjects were tested for shoulder external rotator and elbow extension power
before and after a six-week medicine ball throwing programme, using one specific
exercise involving both sets of muscles. They had to stand, catch a 1kg ball in
one hand with the arm horizontally abducted and extended,
flex the arm across the body (eccentric phase) and then rapidly abduct and
extend the arm releasing the ball. This throwing movement involves the external
shoulder rotators (the posterior shoulder muscles) and the arm extensors (the
triceps). Retesting revealed a significant increase in elbow extensor power, but not in
external rotator power. The researchers suggested that the greater
of the posterior shoulder by comparison with the triceps meant that the training
was more effective for the latter than the former.
How to Perform Plyometric Exercises?
As mentioned earlier, plyometric training exercises are high intensity exercises
that are used for increasing strength, power and speed. Many of these exercises
involve jumping, hopping and bounding. One should be aware that since these are
high intensity exercises, one can get injured, if the exercises are not
performed properly. Many of the plyometric exercises involve jumping from a box
to floor and rebounding to the box and vice versa, or from one box to another
higher box, etc. It is recommended that plyometric strength training
exercises should be performed by only those who are physically fit. Beginners
should perform low intensity plyometric exercises initially.
Although this program focuses on upper body
power, it is necessary to understand that the energy for each exercise comes
from the ground. Therefore, in many of the exercises the lower body and
get considerable residual training.
Start by getting into a
Lower yourself to the ground and then explosively push up so that your hands
leave the ground.
Catch your fall with your hands and immediately lower yourself into a push-up
again and repeat.
Note: alternatively you can lower your chest
close to the floor, push yourself up forcefully so your hands leave the ground
and clap your hands together. Land your hands back in the starting position and
Stand with one foot in front (staggered stance) with knees slightly bent.
Pull medicine ball back behind head and forcefully throw ball forward as far
as possible into the wall.
Catch ball on the bounce from the wall and repeat according to your level of
fitness. Keep the time between pulling the ball back and starting the throw
(transition phase) to a minimum. Can also be completed with a partner instead of
Stand with feet parallel,
shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
Pull medicine ball back behind head and forcefully throw ball down on the
ground as hard as possible.
Catch the ball on the bounce from the ground and repeat according to
Begin the movement in a normal
triceps dip position in the lower phase,
explosively power yourself upwards to a straight arm position,
Aim to raise your hands 4 - 6 inches off the bench, making sure your hands
land back down on the bench as you lower.
Remember to record how many repetitions and sets you can perform, so that
you will so how your getting fitter and stronger in all areas
Stand holding medicine ball with hands on each side of ball. Place feet
wide apart pointing approximately 45° outward and knees slightly bent. Bend
over and place ball near outside of one foot.
Raise ball up to side and up over head so torso is upright. Bend over to
opposite side and lower ball down to outside of other foot.
Repeat with opposite movement alternating raising and lowering ball back
and forth between sides.
Start slow, gradually increasing speed
Side Throw (with partner)
Stand facing partner throwing distance apart with left foot forward. First
person holds medicine ball with both hands near chest, left shoulder slightly
forward, right hand behind ball, and left hand in front of ball.
Partner has arms up and shoulders square ready to receive ball.
First person throws medicine ball to partner's chest forcefully extending
right arm and shoulder forward. Partner catches ball with both hands, recoils
ball to right of body, and immediately throws ball back to first person's
chest in same manner. First person catches ball and repeats volley.
Continue throwing on left side with right foot and shoulder forward.
Perform prescribed repetitions or for time.
Kneel before medicine ball. Place left hand on top of ball and right hand
on floor slightly wider than shoulder width away.
Position upper body above both hands with right arm straight and left arm
bent with hand on ball. Straighten body and place forefeet back away from ball
on floor shoulder width apart.
Push upper body up onto ball so right hands is place on top side of ball
next to left hand. Immediately place left hand onto floor slightly wider than
shoulder width away.
Immediately shift upper body to original side with the opposite movement.
Repeat by alternating sides.
Note: It is imperative that an adequate strength
base is developed before attempting plyometric training. One must remember that
an essential component to plyometric training is high intensity efforts. This
higher intensity is accentuated during compressive exercise like explosive
push-ups. These percussive exercises put an enormous amount of
stress on all of
the associated structures (i.e. muscles, tendons, ligaments,
bones, etc.). If
these anatomical structures are not properly developed, an injury is guaranteed
if these types of plyometric exercises are undertaken.
Dated 10 January 2011