Plyometrics is a training technique designed to increase muscular power and explosiveness. It conditions the body with dynamic resistance exercises that rapidly stretch a muscle (eccentric phase) and then rapidly shorten it (concentric phase).
Hopping and jumping exercises, for example, subject the quadriceps to a stretch-shortening cycle that can strengthen these muscles, increase vertical jump, and reduce the force of impact on the joints.
Plyometric exercises mimic the motions used in sports such as skiing, tennis, football, basketball, volleyball, and boxing. Benefits include improved vertical jump performance, Leg strength, Muscle power, Acceleration, Balance, Overall agility, & Bone density.
*Muscle Groups Worked: Muscular power and muscular strength – Varies depending upon muscle group being worked (upper or lower body)
Squat Jumps: Stand with your feet about a shoulder length apart, keep your back straight and bend your torso slightly forward. Keep your arms at your sides with elbows at about 90 degrees. Lower your body to the floor (semi-squat position) and immediately jump up as high as you can, throwing your arms up.
Do 10 and then rest trying to get as high as you can.
Box Jumping: Stand facing a suitably elevated box (you could start with a step). Keep you feet a little wider then the other plyometric exercises.
Lower your body to a squat position and jump onto the box. Step off and repeat, getting as much explosive power as you can.
Split Jumps: Stand with your feet a comfortable distance apart. Step back about 2 feet with your left foot on the ball of your foot. Lower your body by bending your right knee until your quad is horizontal to the ground. Switch your feet while jumping so that your left foot comes down in front. Rest as before and repeat, switching sides.
ZigZag Hops: Stand about 1-2 feet away to the side of a short long object. Jump straight up, using both your leg muscles and plant on the opposite side. Repeat back and forth right after another. Move in a zigzag up the length of the ladder.
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-Eric & Maleka Beal
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*Before beginning any fitness program, always see a qualified healthcare provider for advice and to address any questions or concerns. The exercises presented on this website are for suggestion only and should not be substituted for medical diagnosis or treatment. Participate at your own risk and stop if you feel faint or experience shortness of breath.
Eric and Maleka Beal are health coaches and co-founders of BetterChoices, a health & wellness company and social community focused on educating, advocating, and promoting better health and wellness through lifestyle, nutrition, and fitness education.