What is plyometric exercise and how does it work?

You can relive the joy of childhood by practicing plyometric exercises that replicate such carefree childhood movements as hop, hop, hop. It’s no surprise then that plyometrics or “plyos” for short are an elaboration of the above movements.

explosive movement

Also known as jump training, plyometrics are power-building exercises often used for sports training and help athletes develop their athletic performance in activities like soccer, volleyball, basketball, and tennis.

Any sport that uses “explosive” movements can benefit from plyometrics, and plyometrics can really be effective for anyone who simply wants to improve their overall conditioning, lose weight, or enhance muscle-building efforts.

stretch and contract muscles

Plyometric movements include jump squats or a series of one-legged jumps. Many are full bodyweight movements that are intensive and produce impressive fitness results.

Examples of Plyometric Exercises

  • frogs
  • plyometric pushups
  • jumps
  • climbers
  • alternate leg jumps
  • jumping jacks
  • lunge jump
  • side jump
  • Mountain climber
  • cross plank crunch
  • plank jack
  • Side plank jump
  • jump energy
  • quick feet
  • skaters
  • squat jump
  • star jump
  • tuck jump

Some athletes jump over a box or jump over cones. The movements can be slow or fast, but they are always explosive in nature.

Between jumps, the muscles stretch, all of which provide an extra boost of power to the action part of the movement. The secret to getting fit with plyometrics is to get the most out of stretching and contracting your muscles.

Plyometric movements are not the only ones in the category of power building exercises and should not be confused with other workouts. What sets them apart is the fact that they include a very fast charging phase in which the stretch reflex must invoke a powerful contraction and do so very quickly.

Concentric contraction: management of eccentric movements

Upper-body plyometrics focus on the arms and chest, and include moves like plyometric pushups and medicine ball throws.

Some important questions to ask

Since you are using concentric contraction, a form of muscle contraction that occurs in rhythmic activities when muscle fibers shorten as tension develops, you must determine the following:

  • How fast can you lift a specific weight?
  • How far can you throw a medium weight object?
  • How hard can you hit?
  • How much weight are you able to lift?
  • How high you can lift your body after a takeoff.

Practice makes perfect

In plyometrics, quality always wins over quantity and correct execution in both explosiveness and fitness can make all the difference. You also need to train your body to handle and store forces that are downward or eccentric, as demonstrated when catching a medicine ball.

The ideal way to create fast, downward force is to be able to catch and stop a falling load. The more you practice catching a medicine ball, the better you’ll be able to catch a falling load without too much difficulty.

Tips for Beginners

Increase your fitness level before beginning a plyometric exercise routine

Plyometrics is not an exercise routine every day. The rest days required will depend on the individual goals of the person doing the training.

If you don’t consider yourself an athlete or aren’t in optimal shape, then it might be best to increase your base fitness level before starting a plyometrics routine.

It is also advisable to hire a personal trainer who can design an individualized plan that can meet your unique fitness goals and needs. They can also teach proper form and help prevent injury.

High impact

Plyometric training is high impact training and therefore not appropriate for people with any type of joint problem, consult your doctor before beginning.

load up on carbs

The intensity level is high for plyometric workouts, so expect moves that require a lot of energy to perform. To last throughout your workout and maintain your optimal level of performance, fuel your body with complex carbohydrates that are easy to digest, oatmeal with fruit or peanut butter on whole wheat toast are good choices.

How To Incorporate Plyometrics Into Your Fitness Regimen

Add them to regular workouts: A duration of 10 minutes with 2-3 different movements in 5-8 series with 3-6 repetitions each.

Use Contrast Outfits: Do a weighted set, then immediately follow it up with the same plyometric movement, but with no load.

Independent training: Swap the treadmill or elliptical for a HIIT session with plyometrics to burn fat and condition your heart. Perform intervals of maximum intensity with short rest periods. 15 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest for beginners and 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest for those in good shape is a solid approach.

Some of the most optimal movements for this type of training are: froggers, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, lunge jumps, tuck jumps, box jumps and medicine ball slams.