Plyometrics Anyone??

Plyometrics…Ahhhhh, I can feel the burn just thinking about it!  Personally, I love plyos and incorporate them into my own workouts.   Plyometrics are defined as  a type of  exercise  training designed to produce fast, powerful movements, and improve the functions of the nervous system, generally for the purpose of improving performance in sports. Plyometric exercises may also be referred to as explosive exercises.  Plyometric movements, in which a muscle is loaded and then contracted in rapid sequence, use the strength, elasticity and  innervation  of muscle and surrounding tissues to jump higher, run faster, throw farther, or hit harder, depending on the desired training goal. Plyometrics are used to increase the speed or force of muscular contractions, providing explosiveness for a variety of sport-specific activities. Plyometrics have been shown to be beneficial to a variety of athletes with benefits ranging from injury prevention, power development to increased sprint performance.  (Also known as “plyos”).

While it is true that plyos are awesome for various athletes to improve their performance, they are also good for the majority of us to improve our functional strength, power and  flexibility  as well.  Now, that being said, plyos are not for everyone…not by a long shot.  Anyone with any kind of joint injury or issues should avoid plyos without first consulting their physician.  Likewise, anyone who has not included weight lifting ( a.k.a. resistance training or strength training) for at least 6 months in their workout routines should also avoid plyos, as the tendons and muscle attachments are not strong enough yet.

However, the rest of you (and yes, you should be picturing me with an evil smile on my face, rubbing my hands together while saying “I’ll get you my pretty!”) are good to go and should at least consider the benefits you could be reaping from plyos!

 Better Performance Overall

  • Increased Vertical Jump Performance
  • Increased Muscle Endurance
  • Increased Muscle Power
  • Increased Metabolic Rate
  • Increased Leg Strength
  • Increased Acceleration
  • Improved Balance
  • Overall Agility
  • Bone Density (especially in younger participants)
So, what are some good plyometric exercises that you can begin incorporating into your workouts?  Here’s a few to get you started.
  • Squat Jumps (a.k.a. Pop Squats):  Begin with feet about hip width apart. Squat as low as you can, keeping the knees behind the toes and your abs engaged. Jump as high as you can, land with soft knees and lower back into a squat,  jumping back up immediately. Repeat for 10-60 seconds, complete 3-10 sets with 60-180 seconds of rest in between.
  • Plyo Lunges (if you’ve been to one of my TRX classes, chances are high that you’ve already done these):  Stand in a split stance, right leg in front and left leg in back. Bend your knees and lower into a lunge, keeping the front knee behind the toe, body weight in your front heel. In an explosive movement, jump into the air and switch your legs, landing so that the left leg is in front and the right leg is in back. Make sure to land with soft knees, lower into a lunge and repeat, jumping and switching sides. Repeat for 10-60 seconds,  for 3-10 sets with 60-180 seconds of rest in between sets.
  • Medicine Ball Chest Pass:  This can be done with a partner, against a wall or with a medicine ball rebounder.  Stand facing your partner, the wall or the rebounder throwing distance apart with one foot forward. The first person holds the medicine ball with both hands against their  chest  while their partner has their arms in front ready to receive ball. The first person throws the medicine ball to their partner’s chest by forcefully extending both arms forward. Partner catches the ball in front of their chest with both hands, recoils ball toward their chest, and immediately throws ball back to first person in the same manner. First person catches ball and repeats volley. Continue throwing the ball back and forth for 15-20 tosses/catches and 3-10 sets with 60-180 seconds rest  in between.
These are just 3 examples of some plyometric exercise you could include in your upcoming workouts that will have big payoffs…and there are literally thousands of plyometric exercise that you can incorporate.  With all that you stand to gain by including plyos in your next workout, then best question to ask your self is why not??!!


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