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【Running Science】Why is Plyometric Training Important Despite Running Being Non-jumping?

Updated: May 6

Published in BijiHK on 2024/04/26



Throughout the realm of running, various discussions and research exist, from enhancing speed endurance and employing different training strategies for different cycles to delving into efficient running forms. However, there is comparatively less discussion on the impact of plyometric training on running. Some even argue that since running doesn't involve jumping, plyometric training, which is often associated with high-speed sports like track and field or ball sports, is irrelevant to distance running. But is it really the case that running and jumping are unrelated?


Image, venue, and demonstration: AQ STONG



Reducing Injuries


Long-distance running involves continuously repeating movements to propel forward for extended periods. Therefore, runners need good power transmission to maintain high speeds over long durations. If we observe each step in long-distance running, it's akin to repeatedly alternating single-leg jumps with each foot. This involves repeatedly supporting the body with two or even three times its weight in a very short period and continuously propelling forward. By incorporating some plyometric training to enhance elasticity, the body gains better shock absorption capabilities. This significantly reduces the risk of injuries like common ankle, knee, and lower back issues, leading to more stable performance and helping to improve running performance while reducing the risk of injury.


Split Squat Jumps (Image, venue, and demonstration: AQ STONG)



Vertical Jump (Image, Venue, and Demonstration: AQ STRONG)



Increasing Elasticity, Enhancing Efficiency


Through single-leg jumping exercises, athletes learn to shorten the time it takes for muscles and nerves to coordinate from ground contact to take-off, improving power transmission and enhancing body elasticity. This helps strengthen the body's ability to withstand impacts at high speeds, allowing runners to maintain high-speed propulsion forward for prolonged periods, or even faster, thereby improving running efficiency!



Points to Note


Training needs to progress gradually, and plyometric training is no exception. Given that single-leg jumping exercises impose significant loads on the body, exercises like continuous vertical jumps and continuous split squat jumps can be used to train lower limb strength and stability with less stress. After establishing a solid strength foundation, one can advance to single-leg jumping exercises like bounding or single-leg vertical jumps to continue training lower limb elasticity and body balance, gradually enhancing tendon resilience to improve running cadence efficiency.


Sports can be highly individualized, with each sport having its own characteristics. If difficulties arise in training, it's important to consult a professional coach to design a tailored training regimen to assist athletes in achieving their goals. The training examples mentioned above are all exercises used by AQ Strong in their daily training to enhance athletes' explosive power and elasticity. AQ Strong's GAME READY classes primarily focus on teaching explosive power and speed training, allowing athletes to choose classes according to their needs to improve their running performance.





Stanly is a track and field coach who has been coaching children, high school athletes, and elite athletes for many years. He enjoys learning and interacting with athletes to bring fun and educationally meaningful course experiences to students. He is also a track and field athlete, mainly participating in the triple jump event.





Master of Science in Sports Science and Physical Education, The Chinese University of Hong Kong Level 1 Track and Field Coach, Hong Kong Athletics Association EXOS Performance Specialist Certified Coach Retired triple jump athlete, Hong Kong



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