Plyometrics is an intriguing new approach to exercise that can deliver impressive results in a short amount of time.
What is Plyometrics?
Plyometrics consists of exercises that exert your muscles in a maximal way over a short amount of time, with the intention of increasing overall power and strength. Also known as jump training and Pylos, this exercise strategy is effective for both beginners and advanced athletes since the number of reps and sets are what determines much of the difficulty. It should be performed 1-3 times a week.
First popularized in Russia, plyometrics is now practiced in various forms around the world. The varieties range from extremely intense and demanding exercises to simple jumping, without as much focus on maximal effort or speed. Depending on your fitness goals, you will want to explore multiple versions and exercises to find the best fit.
The most popular exercises in plyometrics include skipping, tuck jumps, box jumps, and squat jumps, among others.
Begin with your feet shoulder-width apart, then squat down to where your thighs are parallel to the ground. Then, explosively jump up, swinging your arms above your head, then landing back with your knees bent to cushion the landing. Immediately go from this position into your next jump. Start with 2-3 sets of 4-6 jumps.
Sumo Squat Jumps
Similar to the squat jumps, you begin with feet shoulder-width apart, but with your feet turned out and your hands on your hips. From that position, explosively jump up and land gently down in a similar position before exploding upwards again. Begin with 2 sets of 10 jumps each.
Skipping is one of the oldest forms of plyometrics and one that most people know how to perform from childhood. Although it may seem unusual, it is a form of repetitive jumping and is a very effective exercise for your core.
Set a box of a chosen height (start with a low box) in front of you, then with your feet shoulder-width apart, squat down and then jump upwards, propelling yourself to gently land on the edge of the box. Try to land gracefully, with your knees bent, and then step down off the box.
To perform this jump, start with your feet shoulder-width apart, then squat partially down and jump straight up, pulling your legs up into your chest, “tucking” them in place, then landing gently back with your legs extended and slightly bent. Repeat this 4-5 times in 2-3 sets.
Word of Caution: Plyometrics, though beneficial, can also pose some side effects, so certain caution should always be administered. It puts stress on the joints, so you should start with shorter workouts and gradually increase. 60-80 total jumps is a good range to start with, and you can build from there. Also, don’t use plyometrics too often; 1-2 times a week as an independent workout should be enough, particularly for beginners.