• By: Pedro Candeias
  • Date: 03/09/2017


How to be More Explosive with this Simple and Practical Training Method… PLYOMETRIC TRAINING


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In our last post, we’ve been looking at how Stretch-Shortening Cycle works and the importance of Plyometric training to improve it. Plyometrics allows your athletes/students to be more explosive.


In this article, we are going to start seeing practical and scientific-based aspects of Plyometric exercises.



EQUIPMENT (plyometrics)


The first thing you need to consider is the training surface: your Dojo’s tatami it’s ideal (it absorbs some of the shock in landing)!


But if you don’t have the luck to have a tatami what should you do? Your students should practice Plyometric drills with proper footwear that provide good cushion and also sturdy support…


If you, for an instant, thought that training with sport’s footwear would be against Karate’s tradition, think better: you are not that kind of retrograde Sensei!!


Your students go to your classes because they expect to have the best, safest and most motivating training sessions. If you explain to them why they should execute Plyometrics with proper shoes, they will see you as a person who knows what you’re doing. And, most important, is worried about their health. When they go to Kata training, for example, they take off their footwear.


You must look to sports footwear as a safety gear, as fighting gloves, shin or groin protections.


Then, to manage the intensity and variability of Plyometric exercises you should have some of the following equipment:


– Solid Jump Boxes from 15cm/6 inches to 60cm/ 24 inches or more in height (more height = more intensity)

– Steps

– Plastic Cones

– Hurdles (various heights)

– Medicine Balls (to upper body)

– Elastic bands

– Mini-trampoline

– etc.



The motivation expands significantly if you have different types of equipment to train with. VARIABILITY is a KEY-FACTOR of students motivation…


Be aware! If you’re a good Karate instructor and you are doing your job properly, your students will naturally experience more confidence when they train with you. This is totally true if they feel that their health and safety is your top priority.





Plyometrics can be a very high-intensity form of training. It can place substantial stress on the bones, joints and connective tissue. While Plyometrics can enhance an athlete’s speed, power, and performance, it also can place them at a greater risk of injury than less intense training methods.


Plyometric it’s like strength training for Kids. It can and it should be done but in the correct way and guidance.


To know more about strength training for Kids click on the links below:


Prior to starting a program, there are several things to consider so the training sessions are performed in a safe and effective manner:


  1. Exercise Technique – you must, always, teach the proper technique, posture, and execution of each exercise (with a slower velocity)


  1. Start with Low Intensity and Low Volume – a Karateka should have an adequate base of muscle strength and endurance (we will deepen this in numbers, later in this article)


  1. Sufficient Warm-Up – to have the muscles with the correct activation


  1. Regular and Proper Feedback – the words you use make a huge difference in injury prevention



Let’s continue directly to the point!



TRAINING LOAD (plyometrics)


As contrary to common thoughts in most Karate and Sports trainers that already use Plyometric Drills, adding weight to the exercises do not bring extra benefits and gains to Elastic Energy Recoil and Stretch Reflex Potentiation!!


Mostly, because extra-weight will cause a to slow amortisation phase that does not allow for an effective utilization of elastic energy, for example. This information is particularly relevant if you want to develop Fast-SSC in your legs! And you want it, don’t you?!?


You can and must use only body weight!!


You increase the training load by raising the solid jump boxes or hurdles height. Another way – the most important for Karate – is “pushing” execution speed. Allways assuring the maintenance of proper technique – don’t forget it!!.


External loads also play a role in Plyometrics, but this is for another day…


The external load is fundamental, but in other training methods: like explosive strength methods or ballistic methods.



SPEED (plyometrics)

Drills should be performed in maximal speed (but safely and always maintaining the correct technique).


Remind that the rate of the pre-stretch of the contracting muscle is more important than the length of the stretch. This is, jump speed is more important than jump height. You must focus, primarily, on increasing exercise execution speed!



FREQUENCY (plyometrics)

Plyometrics should be performed 2 to 3 times per week (unless you are alternating days of upper and lower body drills), on separate days.


In Off-Season/Preparatory Period you perform Plyometrics twice a week.


During In-Season/Competitive Period 1 session is appropriate to maintain the previous training gains and prevent injuries.


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INTENSITY (plyometrics)

The intensity of Plyometric method is typically classified as low, medium or high.


When your athletes/students reach more intense levels, volume should decrease.


The intensity for the lower extremities are related to foot contacts, the direction of jump, speed, jump height and body weight. For example:


  1. Exercises with both feet are less intense than one foot only.


  1. Exercises with no spatial displacement tend to be less intense than drills where your students displaced from the starting point.



VOLUME (plyometrics)


Volume is typically expressed in the number of foot contacts (repetitions and series) or jumped distance.


Volumes of approximately 10 weeks in duration, twice a week seems to maximize the gains in performance (with more than 50 jumps per session, that increase progressively along the weeks).


Plyometric Volume per Session:

  1. Beginners – 80-100 ground contacts (jumps or steps)
  2. Intermediate – 100-120 ground contacts
  3. Advanced – 120-140 ground contacts


There are several scientific studies that used more ground contacts per session, but the results were not significantly better than the numbers you see here. And you must give space to other dimensions of Karate classes.


You must plan your classes with maximum efficiency, so you’re not wasting time!



REST AND RECOVERY (plyometrics)

To be certain that the intensity and proper execution of the exercises are preserved, 1 to 5 minutes of rest is needed between plyometric drills, depending upon the intensity and volume of the workout.


Between training sessions, is recommended a recovery time of 48-72 hours (2-3 days).



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P.S. – Scientific fact: Plyometric training enhances bone mass in children and pre-menopausal women, but requires a considerably higher volume, while the exercise intensity should be low to moderate. Imagine if your students parents or middle-aged women know that YOU KNOW and USE this kind of things. You’re no more just the Karate Instructor that teaches some kicks; you become a true Specialist in Human Movement that add much more value to your community.