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The Basics of Plyometric Exercise

             "Plyometrics is the distinct method of athletic training that provides power or explosiveness" (Mac, January, 1997). Plyometric exercises, more recently known as stretch-shortened cycle exercises (SSC) are those exercises that allow the muscle to reach its maximal force in the shortest possible time (Hewett, Stroupe, Mance, and Noyes, 1996).
             According to Baechle and Earle (2000, p. 431), "The stretch-shortening cycle combines mechanical and neurophysical mechanisms and is the basis of plyometric exercise". Baechle and Earle (2000) further have stated a rapid eccentric muscle action stimulates the stretch reflex and storage of elastic energy, which increases the force produced during the subsequent action (p. 429). The Sports Fitness Advisor contends that, "As a muscle stretches and contracts eccentrically (lengthens while it contracts) it produces elastic energy, which it can store. If the muscle then contracts concentrically (shortens while it contracts) this elastic energy can be used to increase the force of contraction" (www.sport.fitness.advisor.com).
             During a muscle contraction energy is lost as heat. However, a possibility for some of the energy to be stored in the elastic components is probable. (www.fit4martiarts.com). According to the website, (p. 2 of 4) "this stored energy is available to the muscle only during a subsequent contraction." To make this force useable the muscle must contract quickly. Steven Fleck describes this action in throwing (1997, p. 36), "Throwing a ball with a normal overhand throwing motion, which involves a stretch-shortening cycle, will result in a longer throw than throwing a ball without a windup, starting from the end of the windup position (no stretch shortening cycle).".
             "In the mechanical model, elastic energy in the musculotendinous components is increased with a rapid stretch and then stored" (Baechle and Earle, 2000, page 428-429). The neurophysiological model is comprised of muscle spindle activity -"organs that are sensitive to the rate and magnitude of a stretch"- (Baechle and Earle, 2000, p.

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