Plyometrics: Why You Should Add Some Explosiveness to Your Workout
In order to avoid boredom and burnout with your current workout routine and to see continued results, switching it up is key. Challenging your body in new ways is the easiest way to ensure your muscles don’t get complacent and your mind doesn’t convince you to keep doing the movements that you now find easy.
So, whether you are an athlete looking to give your training a boost, or you simply need a new addition to your regular workout, plyometrics are a great addition to your routine.
What are plyometrics?
Plyometrics is one of those fitness buzzwords you’ve likely heard before. But what does it mean exactly?
Previously referred to as “jump training,” plyometrics are explosive movements that are used to develop and stretch your muscles while also increasing your speed and endurance.
These high-impact exercises push several different muscle groups to stretch and contract with each rep. This use of strength and muscle elasticity is meant to increase both the speed and force with which muscles contract.
Many people compare these movements to a rubber band – there’s the first phase in which the muscle lengthens, and the second phase in which there is a stretch-shortening (or a shortening contraction).
What are the benefits of plyometrics?
The amazing upside to doing plyometrics is the ability to target multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Essentially, you’re able to get a better bang for your exercising buck – and who doesn’t want that?
Plyometrics target major muscle groups in each of these areas:
These movements will do wonders in transforming fat into lean muscle and, because they are so explosive, they are a great addition to cardio routines. Essentially you are able to burn more calories than your regular treadmill run, while improving the strength and agility of muscles throughout your body.
So…how do you do plyometrics?
Plyometrics are best performed with simple body weight – an added bonus – and can be done essentially anywhere you have some basic equipment and room to move.
Plan on doing 5-6 sets of 5-8 reps and taking 90 seconds to rest in between.
Here are a few examples of plyometric exercises:
- Jump squats
- Star jumps
- Box jumps
- Mountain climbers
- Jumping-jack planks
Note: Because these movements are high-intensity, it’s important to proceed with caution. If you are new to working out if you’re already experiencing pain, this may not be for you.