Plyometrics, “plyo,” for short, used to be called “jump training.” It’s a technique that you can use in many different ways. For instance, you can do plyometrics to help train for basketball, volleyball, tennis, or any other activity that uses explosive movements. This type of training increases neuromuscular efficiency, muscle strength, stability and overall body dynamics. All this together leads to an overall increase in muscle strength.
You will do a series of jumps and hops, like jump squats or one-leg hops. You might jump up and onto a box or bench, or jump over cones. Every time you land from a jump, your muscles get a stretch. That gives your next jump even more power. The combination of stretching and contracting your muscles whips them into shape.
You won’t do plyometrics every day, because your muscles will need a break from all that jumping. If you are not active now, you may need to start working on your basic fitness first and later have a pro show you how to do the moves, so you don’t get injured. This type of training is more aimed at those who already exercise and have a good physical shape and looks for something more.
To start doing plyometric exercises you should have joints, tendons and muscles in good general condition, a minimum stability and some flexibility.
It’s a good idea to check in with your doctor first, especially if you are not active now or have health problems. If you have heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend a lower-intensity type of exercise that is more aerobic.
Here are some examples of plyometric exercises, some very common ones, others not at all. You can practice them in isolation or do them in circuit, as a complete training:
- Jump rope: It is the simplest plyometric exercise, but not the easiest.
- Squat with jumping: It is an easy and basic plyometric exercise. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and crouch as if sitting down. Then jump. When you get back on the ground, remember to cushion the “landing” and keep your legs, thighs and hips perfectly aligned. Do between 8 and 12 repetitions, then an interval of 30 seconds and repeat 3x.
- Squatting with heels and touching the knees: It is an advanced version of the previous exercise. The movement is almost the same, but when they jump they have to touch with the knees in the palms of the hands. Once again, dampen the landing. Do between 8 and 12 repetitions, then an interval of 30 seconds and repeat 3x.
- Burpees: Well executed, this is one of the best plyometric exercises. Haggle, put your hands on the floor near your feet, throw your legs back, then forward again and then jump. Do between 8 and 12 repetitions, then an interval of 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.
- Burpees with bending: Do the burpee, but after throwing your legs back, do a push-up. Do between 8 and 12 repetitions, then an interval of 30 seconds and repeat 3x.
- Jump into the box (or step, or obstacle): Stand in front of an object you can jump over. The higher, the more interesting it becomes. Jump on him with both legs, then jump into the same position again to the ground, cushioning the fall to the squat position. Do between 8 and 12 repetitions, then an interval of 30 seconds and repeat 3x.