Plyometrics, also known as “jump training” or “plyos”, are exercises based around having muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal of increasing both speed and power. This training focuses on learning to move from a muscleextension to a contraction in a rapid or “explosive” manner, for example with specialized repeated jumping. Plyometrics are primarily used by athletes to improve performance.
Plyometrics is the term now applied to exercises that have their roots in Europe, where they were first known simply as “jump training.” Interest in this jump training increased in the early 1970’s as East European athletes emerged as powers on the world sport scene.
The actual term ‘plyometrics’ was first coined in 1975 by Fred Wilt, one of America’s more forward-thinking track and field coaches. Based on Latin origins, plyo + metrics is interpreted to mean ‘measurable increases.’ These seemingly exotic exercises were thought to be responsible for the rapid competitiveness and growing superiority of Eastern Europeans in track and field events. Plyometrics rapidly became known to coaches and athletes as exercises or drills aimed at linking strength with speed of movement to produce power. Plyometric training became essential to athletes who jumped, lifted or threw.