How Can Plyometric Exercise Aid in Injury Rehabilitation & Prevention?
Sometimes referred to as ‘jump training', plyometric exercises are explosive movements that are quickly becoming popular for athletes to integrate into their training regime. Plyometrics exert an extreme amount of force over a short interval and can be broken down into three components: eccentric, amortization, and concentric.
The eccentric component—sometimes referred to as the lengthening or loading phase—describes the stretching of muscle in order to store potential energy, such as when a volleyball player bends their knees in preparation for a jump to spike the ball.
The amortization component—often called the switch-over phase—is characterized by the transition between stretching the muscle and stabilizing the muscle in preparation to launch. The volleyball player fights gravity which continues to pull them lower into a squat by stabilizing their lower body and contracting their muscles in order to reach the final component, concentric.
The concentric, or contracting, phase unloads all of that stored potential (elastic) energy and redirects it. This can look like launching into a tumbling sequence, throwing a baseball, or jumping for a basketball rebound.
As you can see, plyometrics are present in a number of sports modalities, which makes incorporating these types of exercises into your training can have a variety of benefits for sports injury recovery and prevention.
1: Allows for Progressive Force Absorption or Impact Capacity
One of the most crucial components of returning to your sport is re-learning how to absorb the impact that comes with rebounding from explosive movements such as jumping, running, or throwing. That is because if you overload the injured area too quickly, you can severely weaken or even reinjure the muscle. Physical therapy offers a safe space to slowly build up capacity, where you can progress from exercises like step-ups and small hops to single-leg drills and box jumps.
2: Increases Power and Speed
It has been shown that plyometric exercises can increase leg strength, provide a faster rate of force development, and delay muscle fatigue. This can translate to higher vertical leaps, improved reaction times, and an increase in your overall endurance.
3. Enhances Joint Stability
If you have recently experienced a knee, ankle, hip, shoulder, or elbow injury, it is important to support the injured joint throughout recovery to ensure you don’t reinjure the area. In a 2004 study, it was shown that plyometric training can aid in positioning the knee joint in a more biomechanically neutral position and may benefit dynamic joint stability, particularly in the lower extremities.
4. Increases Body Awareness
Plyometric exercises not only support your muscles and joints, but they can also aid in building brain-body
4 Benefits of Plyometric Exercise for Sports Injuries
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If you have recently suffered a sports injury, your physical therapist might recommend plyometric exercise. ProFysio Physical Therapy is sharing 4 benefits of plyometric exercise.
connections. Proprioception—or kinesthesia—gives us a sense of where and how our bodies move, allowing us to sense complex functions such as joint position, muscle force, and driving effort. Increasing this awareness gives athletes a better sense of body control, which translates to safer and more biomechanically appropriate movements—potentially decreasing the risk of injury due to improper movement.
To determine if you are a good candidate for integrating plyometric exercises into your rehabilitation program, reach out to our physical therapists at ProFysio Physical Therapy. We design personalized sports physical therapy treatments to address your individual needs—providing 1-on-1 care to help you get back to your favorite sport and daily activities. Call our team today at (732) 812-5200.