"What is plyometric exercise and is it for me?" In case you've asked yourself that, here's your answer. If you have seen a runner jump over a hurdle in track than you just saw the definition of plyometric exercises. These workouts include high intense movements, such as jumping, involving high-force loading of body weight during the landing phase of the action. It is also known as "jump training," "shock training," or "plyos." The drills consist of quick and powerful movement which often involves jumps and bounds at maximum strength.

Beginners should start slowly with this type of workout and refrain from any high intense activity if they have injuries. These exercises are essential for anyone who wants to build speed, reaction time and muscular strength.

post-workout results

3 plyometrics workouts for all levels

Now that you know the meaning of plyometrics let us look at what a plyos workout involves. I have listed three exercises that are easy to incorporate into any routine. Start with three sets of 3-5 repetitions of each. Doing jump training at the start of your routine can help avoid muscle exhaustion. As you get stronger and more familiar with them you can increase reps.

  1. Jump Lunges. Start with feet shoulder width apart. Take a step back with the left or right foot going into the lunge position. Jump with an explosive motion switching legs in the air so that the opposite foot is in the front. Land softly and repeat the movement.
  2. Air Jacks. Start in a jumping jack position. As you jump up, raise your arms and kick out your legs so that your body looks like an X in the air. Land softly and repeat.
  3. Long Jumps. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Bend your knees, then jump as far as possible. Absorb the shock, then repeat the next jump.

Starting out with new workouts, you might be wondering what equipment you will need. The best news is most of the plyometric exercises do not need the use of weights or machines. Even though you are doing advanced training with plyometrics, all you often need is your body weight. Just make sure you have an open area to perform workout (ceiling is high enough; all furniture is out of the way) for safety purposes. Another plus is you can do this type of training anywhere.

 Essential tips for good form

When doing jumping or hopping exercises make sure to land on the midfoot and roll the foot forward to the ball to restart the activity. Ensure that your hips, knees, toes, and ankles are aligned to avoid injury. Landing softly by dropping the hips and not locking the knee to absorb impact will create dominance in the glutes and not the quadriceps, that could lead to injury.

 What about weight loss?

As we all know, exercise helps to aid in weight loss when combined with a healthy eating plan.  Doing high-intensity cardio such as plyometrics could burn more calories in a short time. High intense workouts are great, and if you enjoy this type of activity trying it would be beneficial and could help you lose that unwanted weight.

Is Plyometric for you?

As long as you are a healthy, active, injury free person, then there is nothing holding you back from trying to add these high impact options into your routine. In the end, you should talk with a doctor and personal trainer if you have any questions or concerns about including plyometrics training.

Written by Lisa Whitesell
Lisa is an ACE-certified Health Coach based in Hawaii with a BA in health and wellness. She helps her clients set and achieve their health-related goals,...
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