Wherever you look in the world of top-class sport, power counts; and one of the best ways of developing this most precious commodity is through plyometric training. Plyometric exercises are based on the understanding that a concentric (shortening) muscular contraction is much stronger if it immediately follows an eccentric (lengthening) contraction of the same muscle. It’s a bit like stretching out a coiled spring to its fullest extent and then letting it go: immense levels of energy are released in a split second as the spring recoils. Plyometric exercises develop this recoil or, more technically, the stretch/reflex capacity in a muscle. With regular exposure to this training stimulus, muscle fibre should be able to store more elastic energy and transfer more quickly and powerfully from the eccentric to the concentric phase.

Unlike traditional weight training, plyometric drills can closely mimic both the movement pattern and the speed of execution of actual sports performance. Think about a top class professional golf player or tennis player. When the golf player is on the tee box he has to make use of the power in his muscles to be more explosive and generate more club head speed. The same counts for a tennis player when he wants to serve with lots of power. His muscles need to contract really quickly to generate speed off the tennis racket.