Plyometric exercises are popular and effective, but when they are done improperly or without supervision, they can be dangerous. Shin splints, lower back problems, and injuries involving the knees or ankles are all possibilities
"These injuries are often a direct result of too many workouts per week, too many jumps per workout, incorrect form, jumping on hard surfaces, and using plyometrics at too early an age," according to George Dintiman and Bob Ward, co-authors of Sports Speed.
Dintiman and Ward offer the following guidelines to reduce the risk of injury.
- Preadolescent boys and girls should avoid plyometrics unless other factors indicate more advanced maturity.
- Plyometrics should be postponed for athletes who do not have a sufficient strength and conditioning base.
- Athletes over 200 pounds should avoid high-volume, high-intensity plyometric exercises. Very large football players, such as interior linemen, must also take extra precautions.
- Athletes who do not respond well to the instructions of coaches are also at greater risk of injury and under- or overtraining, and should use plyometrics with caution, if at all.
- Precede a plyometric workout with a general warm-up consisting of walk-jog-stride-sprint cycles for one-half to three-quarters of a mile, followed by careful stretching exercises.
- Wear shoes that provide good ankle and arch support, and a wide, non-slip sole, such as a basketball or aerobic shoe. Do not perform plyos while wearing running shoes
- Perform plyometrics only on surfaces with good shock-absorbing surfaces, such as grassy areas, well-padded artificial turf, and wrestling mats.
- Use only plyometric boxes that are sturdy and have a non-slip top.
- The average recommended heights for depth jumps are .75 to .80 meters for athletes under 220 pounds. The height for those weighing more than 220 is .5 to .75 meters. (One meter is equal to 39.37 inches.)
- Every plyometric exercise session should be supervised.
- The number of weekly sessions should not exceed two or three for a maximum of 20 minutes per session.
© Core Performance
Abbott Nutrition strongly recommends that you consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program and perform exercises under the supervision of a certified fitness trainer or conditioning coach. The effect of any specific exercise on a medical condition should be determined by your health care professional. The suggestions here are in no way intended to substitute for medical advice.