Right – plyometrics. Plyo-what? It may sound completely foreign but plyometrics is actually as simple as a training approach based around explosive or rapid movements, to exert maximum muscle force – like jumping. Yup, jumping.
First developed by Soviet countries during the Cold War, plyometrics are quick movements of lengthening and contracting your muscles, unlike typical strength training, which involves long and slow movements. Although commonly used by athletes to improve speed and power, plyometrics can also be used for fat loss (hurrah!). Repetition of these quick muscle movements help to burn fat and produce lean muscle, all while raising your heart rate and burning calories – you’ve gotta love that!
Here are some simple ways to add Plyometrics to your fitness routine:
Safety comes first. Plyometrics is a very high impact approach to exercise, putting a lot of pressure on your joints and tendons so make sure you’re up to it. We definitely don’t recommend plyometrics for newly reconstructed knees or weak ankles!
Start off slowly, incorporating a few exercises into your workout. The exercises work on a set, rest and repeat format; a set consists of doing an action 12 times, a rest is for 1 minute and then you do 3 reps. Try some of the below techniques using this structure.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Explode and jump as high as you can. As you rise, pull your knees into your chest. On the way down, straighten your legs and land softly on the balls of your feet. As soon as your feet touch the ground, perform another tuck jump.
Stand in front of a box or other suitable platform (like a park bench). Try to find a box that’s at least 18″ (45cms) off the ground. As you get stronger, increase the height. Jump onto the box and immediately back down to the same position. Immediately repeat. Perform the jumps as quickly as possible.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Squat down and jump as high as possible. Upon landing, squat and immediately jump up again.
Remember skipping as a kid? Well, you’re going to do it again, but this time you’ll put a bit more oomph into it. Perform a regular skip, but jump and lift your knee as high as you can.
*exercises courtesy of the art of manliness.