If you're in poor physical condition or have bone or joint problems, you're probably not a good candidate for plyometrics.
But even if you're a seasoned athlete, it's important to remember that any training routine that builds strength through explosive movement is inherently associated with an increased risk of injury. In the sports science community, reported injuries associated with plyometrics programs of depth jumping have stirred considerable debate over the technique's safety. Some experts have even compared plyometrics to the now-discredited technique of high-impact aerobics, which increases the risk of injury to lower-body joints such as the knee and ankle.
But plyometric training is usually safe and effective if you've received adequate screening from a sports medicine doctor or therapist and enrolled in a program led by a qualified instructor who matches the exercises to your age and fitness level and teaches proper landing techniques before gradually advancing you to more difficult exercises.
Plyometrics is a very dangerous method of exercising. There are no
exceptions and the damage is cumulative. Plyometrics involve jumping and
landing, both involving high acceleration and impact forces.
My premise is that all injuries (i.e. tissue damage) are caused by the
application of forces that exceed the structural tolerances of the tissues
injured. A bone fracture is an obvious example. Simply put, plyometrics exposes
a trainee to injury level forces and this is unnecessary to gain the adaptive
benefits of exercise.
The problem is not just limited to the spectrum of acute athletic
injuries. Those high level forces that are not high enough to cause
catastrophic tissue failure can still proceed to damage structures like
articular cartilage and loosen joint systems (muscle insertions, ligaments,
musculotendinous junctions) in a sub-clinical way.
This risk is elevated because of the risk of slipping due to the nature
of the exercise. These repeated impact forces contributes to chronic
degenerative disease with osteoarthritis as the ultimate result. Articular
cartilage can be slowly and significantly damaged over time and this has now
been shown on runners where sequential MRIs were done over about 4 years.
Many people do not know that this asymptomatic damage is irreversible, and over
time this cumulative damage becomes debilitating.
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