Do you want to revive a tired workout regimen? Get a sleeker physique? Challenge your body in a new way?
Sticking with a regular workout routine is great for your mind and body. But after weeks or months of doing the same exercise routine day in and day out, it’s common to stop seeing results, get bored, lose motivation and want to try something new. That’s where plyometric exercises come in.
The Lowdown on Plyometrics
Plyometrics, or “jump training” exercises, are explosive bounding exercises. Plyometrics mimic the motions used in sports such as skiing, football, volleyball, tennis and boxing. Plyometrics were first used by Eastern European Olympic athletes in the 1970s, and nowadays professional athletes and gym rats alike do plyometrics to get more out of their workouts.
Plyometrics involves rapidly stretching a muscle and then quickly shortening it. Moves focus on controlled impact and maximum power. Experts say regularly doing plyometrics can improve leg strength, balance, agility, acceleration, vertical jump performance and bone density.
So how does this help the everyday exerciser? Plyometric exercises push you out of your comfort zone and make your workout more challenging. This can lead to:
· Weight loss. Plyometric exercises get your heart rate way up, and then it comes back down between sets. This type of training is known to torch calories and burn fat.
· Improved muscle tone. These powerful movements strengthen and tone your muscles.
· Better athletic performance. Plyometrics can help competitive runners, cyclists and tennis players gain speed.
What’s more, experts say muscles adapt to more challenging workouts quickly, which means you’ll see results of plyometric training in no time.
Examples of Plyometric Exercises
A major perk of plyometrics is that you don’t need much equipment, if any. You can do most moves using your own bodyweight. Try these plyometric exercises:
· Burpees. Stand up straight, then bend your knees and touch your hands flat to the ground. Pop your legs back and get into a push-up position. Then shoot your feet back in by your hands and do a vertical jump with your arms extended. Repeat.
· Skier jumps. Stand up straight with your knees slightly bent. Jump as far as you can to the left, then as far as you can back to the right, and repeat. Be mindful to land softly with your knees bent to reduce your risk of injury.
· Mountain climbers. Get into a push-up position with your arms extended (be careful not to lock your elbows). Keep your neck, back, and hips straight and then alternate bringing your knees into your chest quickly.
· Jumpees. Stand in a squat position with your feet hip-width apart. Jump up as high as you can, land softly, return to the squat position, and repeat.
· Box jumps. Find a sturdy box or bench that is about two feet off the ground. Jump from the ground up onto the box, landing with both feet together. Step carefully back down and repeat.
Add plyometrics to your exercise routine two to three times per week for maximum results.
Since plyometric exercises are so intense, it’s important to know that they aren’t for everyone. If you’re new to exercise, have bone or joint problems, or are prone to athletic injuries, plyometrics may not be for you.