Unless you’re a competitive powerlifter, you probably work out to be more than just really good at lifting weights.
All those moves you perform at the gym can be a great way to build up your body and improve your general health, too — but it’s even better when your routine can translate into real-world performance boosts for your favourite sports and activities. That’s where plyometric exercises prove their worth.
The explosive exercises, which often consist of some type of jump or hop, help to hone the fast-twitch muscle fibres. To be more specific, the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NCSA) defines plyometrics as a “series of explosive bodyweight resistance exercises using the stretch-shortening cycle of the muscle fibre to enhance physical capacities, such as speed, strength, and power.”
Athletes use plyometric exercises to simulate the type of actions they’ll perform on the playing field. Even if you’re not competing with anyone other than the man in the mirror, you can use the methods to improve your overall abilities and fitness.
You’re probably familiar with the plyo pushup, one of the more common exercises in the genre.
Just don’t go overboard on the plyo work. Experts recommend that you shouldn’t perform any more than 100 to 150 foot contacts per plyo session, and you should only program the moves into your routine every two to three days. More practically, be careful where you’re actually doing all of your jumps, hops, and leaps — if the surface is slippery, you could wind up in a world of hurt.
Check out these plyo burners to give yourself a new, explosive challenge.
The Plyo Cardio Core Burner
This workout will not only strengthen your abs, but it will also give you a cardio boost, too, due to the continuous, fast repetitions. And unlike other common ab workouts, these movements aren’t slow or stationary. Instead, you are training your core to stabilize while performing explosive movements.
Directions: Perform the exercises below in the order listed.
1. Candlestick Row
Get your heart rate up while firing up your core muscles with candlestick rows. Don’t rush these, since keeping your core tight as you move a bit slower will force your muscles to really work.
Number of reps: 5
2. Close-Grip Plyo Pushup
Not only are you engaging your core, but your arms also play a big role in this exercise. Adding plyometrics—or jump training—into the mix works your fast-twitch muscle fibers, which boosts your overall power and agility.
Number of reps: 10
That’s one round. For maximum gains, do 5 to 10 rounds, resting 30 seconds in between each round.
The Plyo Finisher
Use this four-part move to wrap up your toughest sweat sessions. You’ll need two small boxes, which you’ll place parallel to each other at about shoulder width apart.
Start with your chest on the floor, between the boxes. Push up off the ground and explode up, landing both palms down on either box. Raise yourself to your feet, than jump up with your feet on each corresponding box. Squat on top of the platforms, then perform a half-burpee back down to the ground. That’s 1 rep.
Perform 5 to 10 reps, then rest 1 minute. Repeat the cycle three times.
By Naomi Nazario