Heavy lifting and plyometrics are effective methods to improve your power output. We show you how should you combine power training and plyometrics in volleyball.


Power training vs Plyometrics

half squatThe quest for optimal power training has led to the development of various training methods. Traditionally, heavy resistance training techniques have been used to improve strength and, subsequently, performance. These techniques have typically used weights of 80 to 90 percent of one-repetition maximum for repetitions of four to six in number. More current thought combines a variety of training modalities, including plyometrics, dynamic weightlifting, and combinations of these, to enhance explosive power.
The research has indicated that heavy lifting and plyometrics as methods of training have effectively improved power output. This led to thinking that a combination of both systems could result in even greater improvements. This has proven to be so, particularly in the area of vertical jumping.
The question that remained was whether lifting for maximal power output, as opposed to maximum strength, could be of benefit to the athlete. Maximum power lifting occurs when the lifts are made more dynamic in nature. An example of this type of lifting is the exercise known as “jump squats.” In this exercise the athlete utilizes a load of approximately 30 to 60 percent of one-rep maximum to perform the particular lifts.
The result is a faster, more powerful movement through the full range of motion. The idea is do “maximal power training” in that the amount of resistive load maximizes the mechanical power output of the exercise. The 5-5-5 squat embodies this principle. This exercise is performed with a lighter than maximal load for five parallel squats, followed by five squats done “quickly,” and five squat jumps. The quick squats are to be performed as if the athlete were dropping out from under the resistance and utilizing a catch position at the bottom of the movement. The squat jump obviously requires the athlete to explode through the full range of motion up to and through the point where the feet actually leave contact with the ground.
Extensive research has demonstrated that maximal strength levels can be improved by using lighter weights while doing highly accelerated movements in both the upper and lower extremities. This type of training is known in the East European literature as complex training. Using maximal power output training and plyometrics in an integrated fashion can lead to rapid increases in strength, although the intensity of this type of training would be too stressful for long-term training (greater than a 12-week cycle). However, it can be applied when short periods of training are desired or available and it can be used as preparation for competition in a fully periodized training year.


Anyone undertaking a plyometric training program should have a reasonable amount of flexibility. Static stretching, which increases flexibility, uses passive techniques to change the structures of ligaments, tendons, and muscles. The muscle is put into a stretched position and held for 6 to 15 seconds (sometimes more); this is then repeated three times.
Ballistic stretching involves elongating a muscle to its normal length, bouncing gently against the end of the range 6 to 12 times, then repeating this action three times. Although research has shown static stretching techniques to be as effective as and possibly safer than ballistic stretching, ballistic

stretching is still a valuable means of increasing range of motion.

Each method has its benefits, and in light of the principles of eliciting the stretch reflex and the serial elastic components of muscle to perform jumping activities, it might behoove the athlete to “prime” the mechanism by doing controlled ballistic stretching.

women stretching 

Aerobic Training
Aerobic capacity is a valuable component of most fitness programs. However, plyometric training, by the nature of the energy systems being utilized, is not intended to develop aerobic capacity. Plyometric training is strictly anaerobic (without oxygen) in nature and utilizes the creatine phosphate energy system, allowing maximum energy to be stored in the muscle before a single explosive act, using maximum power, is performed. It is a program that exploits a quality of movement compatible with single repetition, maximal efforts. Recovery should be complete between each repetition of the exercise and between each set of repetitions. If sufficient recovery is not allowed, then the activity may move toward being aerobic, but quality of movement and explosiveness are sure to suffer.

1. For an exercise to be truly plyometric, it must be a movement preceded by an eccentric contraction. This results not only in stimulating the proprioceptors sensitive to rapid stretch, but also in loading the serial elastic components (the tendons and cross-bridges between muscle fibers) with a tension force from which they can rebound.
2. A reasonable amount of flexibility is important when beginning a plyometric training program. Two types of stretching can be used to develop flexibility
3. Plyometric training is not intended to develop aerobic capacity and therefore requires complete recovery between reps and sets.
4. Research has shown the method of using training loads of 30 to 60  percent of 1RM in weightlifting to be an effective means of developing maximal power output. Combined with plyometrics, this form of training can be effective, time efficient, and safe.