Plyometrics are jump training workouts that are aimed at enhancing speed, explosive power, coordination and control. They do this through stretching and contracting of muscles during jumps. Plyometrics are especially great as they allow you to work out your full body at once by working on various muscle groups simultaneously. Often, plyometrics are used by professional athletes who need to increase their speed and explosive power as well as their ability to control their body when faced with unpredictable circumstances when engaging in jumps, take-offs, hurdling and sprinting among other techniques in various sports.

Who Should Perform Plyometrics

Plyometrics are more suited for athletes especially those in sports that demand speed and power such as boxing, football, swimming, running and basketball. They are however a recommended option for anyone looking to improve their cardiovascular training as the speed and power. Besides, there are many combinations that make for a great plyometric workout and yield the desired result. For instance, skipping, followed by hopping, bounding and jumping butt-kicks where your legs touch your glutes as you jump up high into the air can constitute such a workout. However, these workouts should not be overdone; experts recommend no more than thrice a week.

Tips on Gaining Great Results from Plyometrics

  • Rest

Ensure you give yourself periods of recovery. This is important as taking breaks helps you achieve maximum speed and explosive power in your reps as you don’t feel fatigued and neither do you overstrain your muscles.

  • Land Properly

You may be wondering what the proper way to land is after a jump. Landing softly without having your knees buckle from underneath you or else collapse inwardly, is key to avoiding injury. By keeping your weight on your heels, core tight and arms extended will engage balance and help control your landing movement without resulting into a shaky land that depending on your fitness level or fatigue, will result in you ending up a crumpled heap on the floor or even falling and possibly injuring yourself.

  • Use Proper Form

When you don’t perform a workout correctly, you risk being injured and not gaining much from it by way of fitness results. For example jump squats are great, however, when sinking into that squat, make sure your weight is on your heels and your knees are not extended beyond your toes. This will prevent the risk of knee joint injuries and help you gain most out of them than if you were to use the wrong form during the squats.

  • Keep Track

Tracking your progress is especially important when engaging in plyometric exercises as it helps you discover which workouts you find easy and which ones are tough. This in turn helps you note when you make progress for example jumping higher, and taking less time to sprint or move from one point to another among other progresses.

  • Limit your Reps

Measuring plyometrics is done by counting the number of touches or reps you do or how many times your feet touch the ground. This is dependent on your training or fitness level and size. Most experts recommend a low to moderate touch/rep volume as opposed to high volume. In the same breath, you should ensure you get at least 48 hours of rest after engaging in plyometric workout to allow your muscles to recover and repair from all the stretching and contracting they undergo.

Examples of Great Plyometric Exercises

  • Jump Rope

This involves the use of a jump rope to help you develop conditioning, control and agile feet. Jumping rope exercises are a great way of building speed and tracking your maximum velocity which comes in handy in enhancing your overall athleticism.

  • Broad Jumps

In this workout, you jump from a deep squat to as far a distance as you can. Broad jumps engage the use of muscles such as glutes and quadriceps and hence, building leg strength.

  • Box Jumps

These involve jumping onto a sturdy bench or box from an original squat position. Once on top, sink into squat position again before slowly stepping back down one foot after the other into the original position. A repetition of these jumps makes for a great plyometric workout working your core and lower body.

  • Jump Lunges

Jump lunges are like normal lunges except with a jump! In this case, what you need to do is keep your feet at apart then step one foot back lowering your hips such that both your legs form right angles with the core tight to maintain stability. Instead of coming up slowly as you would in a normal lunge, spring up from the lunge position such that when you land, the opposite leg is the one that will step back as you lower your body into another lunge. Doing repetitions of these switching sides each time will help you engage in fast jump lunges.