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Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Attention runners: Increase speed and power while preventing injury

Whether your sport is soccer, basketball, lacrosse, tennis, football, baseball or track and field improving your speed, power and agility will make you a better player. Recent studies have shown that plyometric exercises can help to improve all of these elements. Beyond this, this type of exercise can also help to prevent an injury of the lower extremity.

Plyometric exercise involves a rapid muscle lengthening movement (eccentric phase), followed by a short resting phase (amortization phase), and then an explosive muscle shortening movement (concentric phase). Overall, plyometric movements help to train our fast twitch muscles (muscle fibers involved in short bursts of speed), which are responsible for quickness, agility, and power.

Plyometric exercise also improves the reaction time of muscles around a given joint. This increased reaction time of muscle contraction helps to prevent injury of the ankle, knee, and hip.

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