A few weeks ago, we spoke about the 3 types of training your youth should begin executing as early as the age of 6 all the way through 17. If you missed that email, you can check it out here on the Peak blog.
As we discussed, bone strengthening exercises include repeat jumps, depth jumps, agility drills, and plyometric exercises. Jumping aids young athletes in the ability to stabilize and prepares them for effective and safe progression of plyometric training as they get older.
Plyometric training conditions the body through dynamic, resistance exercises that exploit the muscles' lengthening and shortening phases to increase power. This type of training enhances an athlete's ability to increase speed of movement and power production as they produce a forceful movement off the ground.
Plyometric training should be safe, effective and fun. There are many exercises ranging from low intensity double leg hops to high intensity drills such as depth jumps. The program should be designed in a progressive, age- and ability-appropriate fashion. Children should begin training with low intensity drills and gradually progress to higher intensity drills over time. Most importantly, it is beneficial to have youth athletes perform plyometric exercises under the supervision of a qualified professional to provide real-time feedback to ensure the development of safe and correct movement patterns.
Important Factors to Remember
Proper technique and safety is the most important component to plyometric training.
Wear supportive athletic footwear and perform exercises on a stable surface.
Plyometrics should be incorporated into a fitness program that includes strength, aerobic, flexibility, and agility training.
Incorporating plyometrics into your athlete's regimen will prepare them for the demands of recreation and sports. Plyometrics not only improve explosiveness but also eccentric strength, balance, proprioception, coordination, and agility - all of which contribute to a stronger athlete.