Did you know plyometric training (also called jump training) is not just for basketball players and other athletes who jump during their sport? It’s true! Plyometric training allows your body to train certain movement patterns in a biomechanically correct manner which in turns provides functional strengthening for muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Jump training also improves reaction time. Your muscles can only respond at the speed for which they have been trained to respond. In other words, a long slow distance runner will not develop the reactive skills needed to sprint. Research has shown that plyometric training also reduces the risk for injury.
So what does this mean for riders? Usually riding is not considered a sport of quick movements and lightning fast reactions. Even in a jump-off or race, the course is planned in advance and most riders will have a plan in mind. BUT anyone who has ridden long enough knows that horses do not always read the plan or playbook before the competition begins.
Have you ever sat on a young warmblood only to find yourself and 10 feet to the right just a nanosecond after the barn kitten jumped the fence to chase a squirrel? Or what about a horse that unexpectedly trips on the trail? To go with your horse and stay on your horse requires a quick reaction by your body. Hopefully you won’t be jumping on your own BUT you want your muscles ready to fire to keep you in that saddle when a quick reaction is necessary. For your muscles to be ready to respond, they need to be training to respond and plyometric training is one tool to help you be prepared for the unexpected.
In other words, Go Plyo to be prepared for when he shows you what HIS plyometric training has done for his performance!