QT: Plyometrics 101, Specifically for Runners

In case you’re not aware, I’m a fan of runners making strength training a regular part of their routine.

Want to go back into the archives to get a little more strength training info?

Start with the 3-part strength training FAQ series I did in 2019. #1 #2 #3

When it comes to actually doing the strength training exercises, there are plenty of options on the table.

Workout at home or at a gym. Fly solo or take a class with others. Use just your bodyweight or incorporate equipment.

The options really are just about endless.

What About Plyometrics?

I don’t hear plyometrics talked about often when it comes to strength training for runners.

For some of us, it would make all the sense in the world to incorporate some plyometric training into our routines.

Before we dive too deep into the particulars, let’s start with the basics: what is plyometric strength training?

That is an Excellent Question

Plyometrics are exercises that involve maximal force production in a short span of time. Or, to put it another way, plyometrics are explosively powerful movements.

Box jumps. Depth jumps. Jump squats.

Those would all be examples of plyometric training.

Why Plyometrics Benefit Runners?

Plyometrics are hard, no doubt about it.

But are they beneficial for us as runners?

The reason is that plyometrics build power, and power is what propels us forward while we run.

More power will help you cover more ground with each stride.

And we all know that is one of the keys to getting faster, right?

That said, plyometrics definitely aren’t for everyone.

Who Should/Should Not Consider Plyometric Training?

Anyone that is fairly new to strength training should probably hold off on the plyometrics for awhile.

Plyometrics are definitely high-intensity.

As such, you would be wise to build a good strength training base before you start dabbling with plyometrics to help reduce your risk of winding up injured.

Kind of like how you should build up a good running base before you start doing speed work? Pretty much the same logic here.

Those dealing with various running niggles also should probably avoid plyometric work.

Same reason I wouldn’t encourage speed work when you’ve got a niggle.

Those higher intensity workouts cause lots of stress/strain to your body.

When you’re dealing with a niggle, that extra stress/strain is likely to only make the niggle worse.

But if you’re healthy and have been consistently strength training for a while? Feel free to get after it!

Where to Start

If you feel like you’re ready to start implementing some plyometrics into your strength training routine, I’d recommend a gradual inclusion of plyometric movements.

Maybe once a month or so, depending on how often you do your strength training, mix in one or two plyometric exercises into your workout.

Gradually increase EITHER the frequency of the plyometric movements or the number of sets/reps that you’re doing over time as your fitness improves.

But remember, when it comes to plyometrics a little definitely goes a long way.

There are definitely benefits to adding some plyometric work to your routine, but if you do too much you’re probably asking for trouble.

Just saying

Plyometrics can be a good option for some runners, but not necessarily for others. #runchat Click To Tweet

Have You Ever Done Any Plyometric Strength Training Exercises?

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