Biodynamics and Human Performance Center

Quantifying the Intensity of Over-Hand Plyometric Throwing

Plyometrics are characterized by a rapid lengthening of a muscle followed immediately by a subsequent shortening of the same muscle to produce maximal force in a short amount of time.  This property of muscle is known as the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC).  Because rapid force development is a crucial element in many sports, plyometric exercise is often employed to train and improve the muscles’ ability to utilize the SSC.  Plyometric throwing exercises are used to train overhead athletes (i.e. baseball, softball) and are used in the stages of late rehabilitation to return these athletes to sport after surgery.  Despite the popularity of plyometric throwing as a training and rehabilitation tool, the optimal intensity and progression of these drills is still relatively unknown.  Most practitioners are guided by traditional strength training or lower extremity plyometric progressions, or anecdotal evidence when prescribing plyometric throwing drills for training or rehabilitation.  This study seeks to quantify the intensity of over-hand plyometric throwing by measuring velocity and momentum of varying mass medicine balls during plyometric throwing.   The results of this study will contribute to a better understanding of plyometric progression for the upper extremity.