Why would you want to? It sounds unsafe! In the current world we live in we are extremely risk-averse. When there is a risk we think about it then overthink and question whether it is a necessary risk. For most of us, more often than not we walk back to the safe option, not challenging ourselves. When training we are constantly challenging our abilities, our bodies and more importantly our minds on what is within the realms of human possibility (or you should be). Plyometric training is an amazing tool to challenge you. As a trainer, when I see a client making progress in one form or another, be it movement patterns, overall strength or homeostasis, I'm thinking of how can I enhance their progression, where do I take them next? I look at changing the variables within the current exercise to challenge the client's abilities and using one method in particular; plyometric power.
What are the benefits and what would that give us? Rather than ask why would you, ask why wouldn't you?
increased Proprio-neuromuscular receptor strength (brain to muscle commands)
power and torque generation
muscle pattern movements
balance and core muscle stabilization
coordination and athleticism
These few bullet points above are just some of the reasons why you would train with plyometrics, using this advanced training technique is a great way of increasing all over body function and increased sports performance. In many sports, plyometric training is used as part of an athlete's periodized training program that is specifically tailored to increase performance.
When wouldn’t I risk a client potentially hurting themselves? When they are too weak and don't have good overall body strength. What I mean by this is when a client that has a dominant muscle or muscle group, they will have a weak opposite muscle or muscle group. 9 times out of 10 the opposite muscle group would be weak, tight and underdeveloped, overworked and stretched to its capacity. As the body works with agonists (main moving muscles) and antagonists (supporting moving muscles), you can’t work one muscle group without another helping or creating the opposite movement. With this in mind adding something adding a jump to a lunge to create a plyometric movement when you have a dominant quadriceps and weak hamstring/glutes, you run the risk of overloading the weaker muscles group (hamstring/ glutes), and causing injury at the knee hip and even back. As the impact force generated by the jump during the lunge will be ramped up massively compared to a controlled lunge creating an opportunity for overload on the weaker muscles.
Is it safe for me, all movement you can do without pain is safe, so if you can twist jump run without pain then adding instability to your training session shouldn't hurt you as long as you don't try jumping off a building! Self-preservation is a must within our ambitious thinking trying to somersault off a 10ft wall while holding a 20kg plate and landing on one foot might sound doable in our head, in the real world it is unrealistic. But adding a jump to a lunge so you have to generate more power, better balance, stronger movement patterns and reinforce muscle memory is worth the risk to reward ratio to me.
How hard is it to apply to my training and gym routine, it is not that hard to apply to your training take squats you turn them into squat jumps, press-ups into press-ups with a clap pull ups with a pop up, this is simply taking a body movement and ramping it up to push your personal best if you are unsure of any of this contact or speak to a fitness professional strength coach or personal trainer.