In an earlier piece we discussed the plyometric push-up and why it is a powerful bodyweight movement for nearly every strength, power, and fitness athlete to include within their training routine. Increasing the amount of muscle fiber recruitment, contraction velocities, and overall explosiveness can pay huge dividend in one’s training and sports performance. In this article, we will go in deeper detail about the five benefits of plyometric push-ups, and why they can help you increase your strength, power, and fitness.
5 Benefits of Plyometric Push-Ups
Below are five benefits of the plyometric push-up that coaches and athletes can expect when performing these explosive upper body exercises on a regular basis.
Faster Muscle Contractions
Increased rate or force development can lead to increase muscle contraction rates and greater impulses of powerful force outputs. This will result in greater ability to promote force at the onset of a movement, or during a specific sticking point (such as breaking through sticking points in the bench press). Plyometric movements have the ability to enhance the rate of muscle contractions, which is beneficial in nearly any strength and power endeavor as the faster and more powerful we can be, the better.
Greater Muscle Recruitment
Certain muscle fibers types are recruited in various degrees based upon the imposed stress and metabolic demands placed upon them. Fast-twitch muscle fibers are often the first ones called into action, however can also be the most reluctant types of muscle fibers to develop as they need to be specifically targeted and trained to have higher degrees of involvement in movements. Plyometric training, such as the plyometric push-up can work to enhance muscle recruitment of all muscle fibers in the pectorals (chest), triceps, and anterior shoulder so that they can contract and be recruited at the highest of levels. The takeaway: more muscle fibers used generally means greater force outputs and more horsepower to get things done.
More Forceful Pressing Capacities
The application of force is key to all movements in strength, power, and human life. We already discussed why plyometric training, in this case the plyometric push-up, can work to increase the rate of force development and increase muscle fiber recruitment, both of which can ultimately lead to greater amounts of force being generated (and at higher contraction velocities). The ability to promote rapid and forceful muscle contractions is a deadly combination in the gym, on the field, or in life. The more force one can generate at a given instant in time (increased power) can have a significant impact on barbell acceleration in lifts like the bench press, increasing combat sports performance (MMA, military hand to hand tactical training, boxing, etc), and even increase muscle hypertrophy (greater amounts of work can be done).
Joint and Connective Tissue Health
Life is full of dynamic movements, situations, and events, all of which can create stresses and forces upon our bodies at a wide array of angles, velocities, and impulses. Preparing the bodies neurological systems, connective tissues, muscles, and bones for such instances will enhance one’s ability to react properly to absorb and transfer force (rather than abruptly take all of the force) so that they may protect oneself from joint and connective tissue loading injuries. The ability to withstand forces at end ranges, especially under higher speeds or in fatigues states could help to minimize overuse injuries during ballistic movements (kipping movements, contact sports) or straining movements where the muscle fibers are being stressed at the highest of levels (1RM movements or even max effort repetition training).
Ballistic Movement Specificity
The ability to promote high levels of force at high velocities (ballistic) can result in increased performance in certain situations such as contact sports (fighting, rugby, American football) as well as general fitness (such as burpees). By increasing the body’s ability to forcefully promote a strong muscular contraction, while simultaneously controlling and reacting to opposing forces (specifically after an eccentric loading phase) can increase one’s ability in repeated explosive movements. Striking, burpees, and other high speed loading and unloading movements will all be positively affected to allow athletes and lifters to increase force outputs and velocities of movement all expressed in shorter and more explosive contraction times.
Take a look at these other powerful movements to increase strength, power, and fitness!
- Here’s How to Program Plyometric Jumps into Your Workouts!
- 5 Plyometric Exercises to Be More Powerful
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