Training for speed and power in sport and fitness
Training for speed and power in sport and fitness

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Training for speed and power in sport and fitness

3.1 Power training: physiology and mechanics

When a muscle is stretched rapidly, the neuromuscular system responds by initiating a concentric muscle contraction to prevent the muscle from being stretched too far and becoming damaged. This is known as the stretch-reflex system. In plyometrics, this means that if a rapid eccentric loading phase is performed before a concentric contraction, a greater and more powerful concentric muscle action will occur. This ‘pre-stretch’ action is known as the stretch shortening cycle and is explained further in Activity 4.

Activity 4 Plyometric mechanics and physiology

Timing: Allow 40 minutes for this activity

Watch Video 4, on the stretch-shortening cycle, at the link below. Focus on the section between 00:49 (‘The stretch shortening cycle is made up...’) to 03:31 (‘… got to be minimal’). Once you’ve watched Video 4, do the related tasks below.

Video 4: The stretch-shortening cycle [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

1. Use the drop-down menus to select the correct missing word.

Guest users do not have permission to interact with embedded questions.

2. Put the three phases of the stretch-shortening cycle in the order they are performed.

Using the following two lists, match each numbered item with the correct letter.

  1. Eccentric

  2. Amortisation

  3. Concentric

  • a.First

  • b.Third

  • c.Second

The correct answers are:
  • 1 = a
  • 2 = c
  • 3 = b

Now that you have an understanding of how plyometric training works, in the next section you will investigate some examples of plyometric training.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371