Ever tried plyometrics? Know what it is? With the popularity of high-intensity interval training and CrossFit workouts, plyometric workout are no longer relegated to high school and collegiate athletic training.
Formerly known as “jump training,” plyometrics, or plyo, are exercisers that work speed and power by making muscles exert maximum force in a short amount of time. They require muscles to repeatedly go from an extended position to a contracted position, which ultimately shapes you up. A plyometric workout includes exercises like hops, jumps, jumps up to boxes or benches, squat jumps, bounding and hurdling, lateral lunges, pop-ups and more. By nature, they are high-impact and high-intensity.
It is not recommended to do an entire workout composed solely of plyometrics, but instead work these short bursts of these moves into a cardio, strength or combination session to boost fat burning and caloric expenditure, get into an anaerobic zone to challenge their cardiovascular system and build explosiveness. Plyometrics are a great way to train for greater overall fitness, as well as for sports that include a lot of running or jumping, like basketball, tennis or track and field.
Don’t take on plyometrics cold, without thoroughly warming up the muscles and joints for 3-5 minutes, in order to reduce the chance of injury. And rest or perform steady-state cardio in between intervals of plyometric moves. You also shouldn’t perform them every day, but only one-three times a week so that your body has adequate recovery time.
It’s important to understand that you shouldn’t do a plyometric workout if you are brand new to exercise, are pregnant or have joint/bone conditions or other physical limitations, such as back problems, that may predispose you to injuries by performing high-impact moves quickly.
You can work with a personal trainer or consult online and printed resources to develop a plyometric routine, or access invigorating plyometric regimens from Octane Fitness’ SmartLink free app, which incorporates a variety of moves that you can do as part of a CROSS CiRCUIT combined cardio-strength session on an Octane elliptical or Zero Runner.
The key with plyometrics is to get ready to sweat, challenge yourself and be exhilarated (and maybe a bit exhausted). But they are a valuable way to maximize your fitness level, and the results are worth it!