Explosive Evidence

Having recently explained how I include some plyometric training into my program, I received quite a number of emails and comments from different sources. Half of these have centred around the following lines:
  • What about injury?
  • It's not a sprint.
  • Why bother, when racing will go for hours?
  • Won't it leave you too fatigued to do Ironman specific training?
  • There just isn't any evidence that it helps endurance performance.

Basically I have the view that a good number of people just think what is the point? So in an attempt to reply I will present a few links to studies and other sources on plyometrics. I'm not looking to say anyone is right or wrong, just that there are many different opinions. Just because something hasn't been proven in science does not mean it doesn't work. In fact, having attempted to apply the so-called evidence based practice to both coaching, training and work in pre-hospital medicine, I am of the opinion that this concept leads a lot to be desired. Nothing in science is ever irrefutably proven, at best, there is only a lot of evidence that suggests it is true. That said, there are times when something that been considered the gold standard for a long time, suddenly has a significant amount of evidence to say to doesn't really work. So check out the following links, read up, even give it a go and let me know what you find.

An issue of NSCA's Journal that focuses on Plyometrics.

Maybe the benefit isn't there, and the injury risk is too high? Explosive Exercises in Sports Training: A Critical Review

The Outdoor Journey poses an interesting discussion in the Five Resistance Training Myths in the Running World

The following study suggests reduced injury risk and possible performance increase for swimmers with plyometrics:

The effects of shoulder plyometric training on proprioception and selected muscle performance characteristics.

Plyometric activities may facilitate neural adaptations that enhance proprioception, kinesthesia, and muscle performance characteristics. Significant neuromuscular benefits may be attained if they are implemented earlier into shoulder rehabilitation programs.

A study published in 1998 suggests good improvement in endurance performance with the addition of explosive style training:

Explosive-strength training improves 5-km running time by improving running economy and muscle power

In conclusion, simultaneous explosive-strength training, including sprinting and endurance training, produced a significant improvement in the 5-km
running performance by well-trained endurance athletes without
changes in VO2max or other aerobic power variables. This improvement is suggested to be due to improved neuromuscular characteristics that were transferred into improved muscle power and RE (running economy)


  1. I'm convinced they're a great idea for middle distance runners - a girl from our group ran 2:06 for 800m using them in her program.

    I guess if they make you quicker at short distances, this speed will help your longer distances.

  2. I stumbled across your blog from a link on someone else's. Anyways, this caught my eye because I've thought some about working plyometrics into my routine. After an ITB injury, my sport doc recommended I work them in before my long runs to stabilize my hips & knees. I never did it, but I'm curious to follow along with you and see how it works!

  3. i agree with you Jason. I'm not great with believing articles but the logic stacks up. personal experience supports what you say too. my lowest RHR (44) seems to be after 8-10 weeks of weights, vs 46-47 at present with lots of running, and has happened a few times?


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