By Corey Lewis, CPT, CSCS
If you’re looking for a quick, efficient, and safe way to fast track your fat loss, enhance your aerobic capacity, and improve your functional fitness, it’s time you tried a plyometric workout. Many people don’t incorporate plyometrics into their routines, and even more people don’t even know what it is to begin with. In this article, we demystify plyometrics and provide you with ten great plyo exercises to do at home.
Plyometrics is also known as jump training. Plyometric exercises apply maximum force in a short period of time in order to increase muscular power. They make use of what is known as the stretch shortening cycle. This is when a muscle is loaded through the downward (eccentric) part of the exercise, and then unloaded through a rapid, forceful, concentric contraction. These exercises train your fast twitch muscle fibers and neurotransmitters to enable you to enhance your body’s explosive ability and athleticism.
Assume a high plank position with your palms and toes making contact with the floor. Move your hands to just outside shoulder width. Lower into a push up until the elbows reach just above a ninety-degree angle. Now rapidly push up through the hands and chest to bring your hands a few inches off the floor as you straighten your arms, before falling back into your push up position.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and arms at the sides. Simultaneously hinge back with the hips and swing down with the arms to load the lower body. Now swing through with the arms and jump straight up into the air. The feet should land in the same position as you move directly into the next rep.
Stand with feet shoulder width apart with your arms at your sides. Hinge back with the hips while swinging down with the arms to load the lower body. Now swing through with arms and jump straight up into the air, rotating the body 180 degrees in mid air. Land facing the opposite direction.
Stand with your feet hip width apart. Now drive one knee forward and up while swinging the opposite arm overhead. The knee drive should propel the opposite foot up and off the ground. Try to achieve as much height as you can. Land on the mid foot and them immediately switch to the opposite side for the next rep.
Stand about ten inches in front of a solid box that is twelve to eighteen inches in height. Load by hinging back and swinging the arms. Follow through by jumping up and bringing the knees forward and up to land on the top of the box. Now stand up on top of the box before stepping back down to the floor.
Start by standing on top of a box. Now step off the box with both feet. Immediately hinge the hips and swing your arms back to load and then follow through by jumping directly into the air. Be sure to land in the same spot that you jumped from.
Stand in a lunge position with one leg in front of the other. Bend the back knee down toward the floor. When that rear knee reaches ninety degrees, extend both legs and jump straight up. Switch legs while in mid air. Your arms should swing naturally throughout the motion. As soon as you land, move into the next rep.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, and hinge the hips back while swinging the arms back to load the body. Bend at the knees at the same time, then extend the legs and drive the arms forward to jump horizontally. Land with both feet together, and then immediately load for the next rep. Try to get the same length of jump on each succeeding rep.
Begin in a lunge position with the rear knee a few inches from the floor. Load your arms at your sides. The front leg should be bent ninety degrees at the hip and ninety degrees at the knee. Jump directly up, driving with arms to assist with the lift. Try to get as much extension as possible on the jump. Lower and immediately repeat. Perform all reps on one leg before switching to the other side.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, your body upright, and your arms at your sides. Hinge the hips and swing back with your arms to load, then jump directly into the air as high as you can. As you come up, kick your heels into your butt. Swing your arms up as you jump. Lower to the same start positions and immediately repeat for the required rep count.
Plyometrics are great to incorporate into a full bodyweight workout plan at home. They can be done with no exercise and are quick to set up, making them ideal for circuit training where you move from one exercise to the next with no rest. Incorporating them with bodyweight exercises will ensure that you burn fat and improve your muscular strength and agility while also shaping your body.
Here is an awesome full body workout plan that includes plyometric exercises. Perform this routine three days per week, with a day’s rest between each workout. Do each exercise for twenty seconds and then move to the next one with no rest:
For the first two weeks, go through this circuit once. Then add a second circuit for two weeks, resting for two minutes between circuits. After a further two weeks, add a third circuit.
Ready to take your workouts to the next level? Try incorporating some plyometric workouts into your routine and see what they can do for you!