How to monitor net plyometric training stress: guidelines for the coach


Simon Brearley with James Wild, Dana Agar-Newman & Harri Cizmic

Quantifying volume-load during strength training allows the coach to fluctuate training stress in order to facilitate favourable neuromuscular adaptations, while reducing the risk of injury and/or illness. A review by Haff highlights two distinct methods (shown in Table 1) for calculating volume-load when completing common gym-based exercises (eg, back squat). Intensity and volume are routinely accounted for in these equations by the load lifted (including or excluding body mass) and the reps/sets performed, respectively. However, it is difficult to quantify the intensity or ‘stress’ of plyometric exercises using the aforementioned volume-load equations alone. Using bodyweight alone to account for load during plyometric activity does not reflect the stress experienced by the athlete caused by high ground reaction forces in short timeframes. In addition, inconsistencies remain around how volume of plyometric exercises should be accounted for (ie, number of foot contacts). For these reasons, the resulting volume load in plyometric exercises is often underestimated and may result in inappropriate management of the training stress imposed on athletes. Therefore, an integrated framework that better takes into account the volume load of plyometric exercises would be desirable for practitioners who routinely monitor their athletes’ workloads.

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