Jump training for runners
Most runners understand that, all other things being equal, stronger athletes generally achieve better performance. But strength alone does not always improve athletic ability. It is important to be able to utilize that strength in the form of quick, explosive movements in order to achieve optimum performance. This is no less important to the weekend distance runner sprinting to the finish of his personal best training time than it is to competitive athletes in all sports at all levels. Jump training and plyometrics training can help anyone who wants a winning edge over the competition, even if you are only competing against yourself.
What is Plyometrics?
Russian exercise scientists seeking to maximize the performance of their athletes introduced plyometrics thirty years ago. Plyometrics is a technical term that applies to training exercises where there is a very short time between the initial movement, an eccentric braking phase, and the next repetition. Not all jumping exercises are plyometric, but the term has been absorbed into training terminology to apply loosely to all jump training and other exercises that use quick movements with resistance (such as medicine ball work).
Jumping exercises are effective performance enhancers because they use quick powerful movements that combine strength and speed in activities that involve maximum muscular contraction in response to rapid stretching of the muscles. Plyometrics train the muscles to fire more quickly and to respond explosively, resulting in a runner who can run faster and more powerfully. Examples of plyometric activities include leaping, bounding, and jumping. Plyometric movements train the muscles to move fast. If you combine plyometrics with strength training and running, you can maximize performance with greater speed, strength, and ultimately power.