Where do plyometrics fit into your rehabilitation?
Updated: Jan 19, 2022
Senior Physiotherapist Christopher Gillespie explains the importance of plyometrics to a patient’s recovery from injury or surgery.
Chris is a Senior Physiotherapist at our King William St Clinic. He brings a wealth of experience gained from his time working for Tottenham Hotspur F.C. where he treated players on and off the pitch. Chris has also worked with AFC Bournemouth, England Touch Rugby and has provided his services to British University Athletics events.
Plyometric Definition: exercise involving repeated rapid stretching and contracting of muscles above and below a joint. For example, jumping to catch a ball above your head.
There is common misconception that being strong (amount of force that can be produced in a single movement) means you can return to running, jumping, jogging, skipping and so on. Unfortunately, this is not the case. If you have had an injury or surgery on a lower limb (whether that be ankle, knee or hip) it is likely you have not engaged in any plyometric movement for a long period of time. Going back to running or sports without adequate plyometric training could lead to performance issues or risk of injury.
Muscular strength is essential and a precursor to being able to begin plyometric work. Ideally, your injured or weaker side is within 10% (in terms of strength) of your non-injured or stronger side. Once this is the case, with the help of your physiotherapist guiding your strength training, you'll be able to begin plyometric exposure.
The start of this process begins with landing mechanics. The question that should be asked is: why am I jumping, hopping or bounding, if I haven't practiced landing yet? Simplistically, begin with landing from low height on both feet and progress to greater heights and to single leg landings. Once this has been achieved with good technique and without adverse response, you can then begin to be exposed to jumping, bounding and hopping at a higher level. There are two main types of movement: non-counter movement (NCM) and counter movement (CM). NCM is simply the concentric or ‘upwards’ phase of a movement and CM combines the down and upward movement; normally generating more power. Therefore, NCM is often the first movement type to be practiced and perfected. Often this process of movement development travels through vertical, horizontal, lateral and finally rotational planes of movement sequentially, the directions of which are essential for most sporting activities.
Whilst all this might sound a bit complex and hard not know what exercise is best, we at Ultra Sports Clinic can help guide you through this process and get you not just back to running and competing in your sport but doing so with great performance potential too.
Call us on 0203 893 5100 or book an appointment online.