Formerly known as jump training, plyometrics are exercises developed to increase your vertical leap. The words plyo and metrics actually stand for measurable increase.
Power is a result of both speed and strength in a muscle and plyometrics link those 2 factors together. The fastest way to increase power in a muscle is through proper plyometrics training.
When you brain tells your muscle to fire it does so by sending nerve impulses to the muscle fibers which causes a chemical reaction. When you bend down prior to jumping, your muscles react without any conscious thought on your part.
The greatest jumpers actually don't spend much time on the ground. They realize that the longer they are on the ground the more energy is lost and that same energy could be used to jump higher.
One of the main focuses of plyometrics is to shorten the amount of time you are touching the ground. Plyometrics focus on using the stored energy in your legs from the loading phase of the jump.
Bending down before take off is often referred to as the loading phase. This loading phase is crucial to jumping higher because it gives the muscle more power.
Muscles behave in many ways like a rubber band. The more you stretch a rubber band the more power it will have when you let go.
An example of how our muscles react to stretching is the knee test. When the patella tendon under the knee cap is tapped, your muscle will react with power with no conscious thought on your part.
A muscle contraction is always fastest if stretched prior to contraction. Sadly, training does not increase the speed of the reaction, but it does increase the strength that the contraction will have.