Are you one of those people who are physically fit and would like to take it to the next level? Then perhaps plyometrics is for you. But what is it anyway?
THE BASICS OF PLYOMETRICS
Plyometrics used to be called “jump training.” It uses many of the same muscles we used when we were kids when we played hopscotch, and when we learned burpees in grade school. Plyometrics (plyo for short) is a fun alternative to an everyday strength-training. The jumping action is followed in quick succession by a stretching action. As part of your workout it can boosts your muscle power, strength, balance and agility.
PLYO IS NOT FOR BEGINNERS.
If you’re not fit and strong to begin with, you may not only have difficulty executing the moves, you could actually injure yourself. That said, if you are fit it is a w ay to get those ripped muscles you may be looking for, or increase your ability to play amateur sports.
PLYOMETRICS EXERCISES ARE
PLYOMETRIC EXERCISE IS NOT
- Great for leg muscles
- Great for your glutes
- A way to increase flexibility and balance
- Great for strength building
- For beginners
- Aerobic workouts (although you will probably sweat)
- Low impact
- For arm, back or core muscles
TOP TEN PLYOMETRICS
The only equipment you need for plyometrics (other than basic weights) is a platform to jump up on. You could build a sturdy box, or buy a pre-made jumping platform, or use a well-anchored bench. It should be slightly above knee height and wide enough for you to land upon safely. The pre-made platforms are slightly wider at the base than at the top. If you belong to a gym, they probably have one of these.
These plyo exercises will get you started. It is recommended to do them no more than twice per week.
If you do these 10 exercises for 30 seconds each, with 30 seconds between them, that is only ten minutes! But what a great ten minutes it will be!
- Box Jump: Using the sturdy box or bench, stand directly in front of it. Sink down to a squat and then leap onto the box while swinging your arms forward. Do a squat on the box, using your arms for balance, and then step down. Repeat as many as you can for 30 seconds, then rest.
- Atomic Pushup: Assume a modified plank position, using the box as your forward support. Lower yourself into the pushup position on the box and then push yourself (explode up) as far up as you can and clap your hands under your chest before landing back on the box in the plank position. Repeat for 30 seconds.
- Toe Taps: Stand in front of the box and place on foot (or toe) lightly touching the box and your weight on the opposite foot. Now hop up in the air while switching feet so that the other foot is now touching the top of the box. The exchange of feet happens during the hop, and at no time is their weight placed on the box. These are toe taps – not full foot taps. Repeat for 30 seconds.
- Jump Lunges: This is a traditional lunge – the difference being that you jump up in the air to switch leg positions. The legs scissor during the jump, and the sink into the lunge is slow and controlled. Hands are on hips. Repeat for 30 seconds.
- Star Jumps: Begin in a crouch with both feet and both hands on the ground. Explode up and into the air while separating your hands and feet apart as far as possible. Think of Leonardo DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man pose, a cheerleader after a touchdown, or north-south-east-west. Bring your arms and legs back to center to land and then return the crouch position. Repeat at your own pace for 30 seconds.
- Jumping Jack Push Press: This is a modification of a jumping jack and can be performed with a weighted ball. The first position is to have your legs together and the ball close to your body. The second position is to jump to the wide-legs position while you push the ball straight out from your chest. Return to first position. Third position is to push the ball up overhead when your feet are beyond hip-wide again. Returning to first position repeat the cycle. So 1-2-1-3; 1-2-1-3. Repeat for 30 seconds.
- Windmill Lunges: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Lunge down with your right foot back behind your left foot (a shallow curtsy lunge). After your legs are in position, reach your right hand across and down towards your left front foot, while your left hand goes up and behind you. Now reverse positions, letting the legs go first, followed by the arms. This is a gliding motion – like cross country skiing. Legs first, then arms. Repeat for 30 seconds.
- Burpee: Our favorite!! The modification for ply work is to add a pushup from the downward plank position. Remember to engage your core. Repeat for 30 seconds.
- Plank Jumping Jacks: Simple to explain but hard to do. Assume the plank position, and then without moving your hands, thrust your legs out to both sides and then back to center again. Think of a horizontal jumping jack using only your lower body. Keep repeating this for 30 seconds. Whew!
- Plank Ski Jumps: This begins in the plank position. With your hands in place, jump both legs up and to the right side or your right hand (or as close as possible). Jump back to the plank position and then jump both legs to the left. Repeat for 30 seconds.
It is perfectly fine to take more than 30 seconds between each activity.
We wont tell!