By Mark Jellison, SFG1, CSCS
If you're looking for a fun and effective way to build strength and power, you should seriously consider adding plyometric exercises to your workout program. While the most common plyometric exercises usually involve jumping, you can also do plyometrics for your upper body to help you improve your performance in traditional strength lifts like bench press, shoulder press, and horizontal rows. Additionally, these exercises will raise your heart rate and stimulate your metabolism, putting your body into optimal fat burning mode.
Upper Body Plyometrics
1. Wall Chest Pass
Instructions: Stand with your feet in a neutral position, holding the medicine ball at your chest. Keeping your feet stable, strongly push the ball away from you at a wall so that it bounces back to your chest. Catch, and immediately throw the ball back at the wall. Perform 10-20 reps, using a full range-of-motion in your arms.
Muscular Emphasis: pectorals, triceps, biceps, core
2. Depth Push Ups
Instructions: Set up two elevated surfaces wider than shoulder-width. Start with your hands on the elevated surfaces, lower into a push up, and explosively press yourself up so your hands come off the platforms allowing you to narrow your hand position so you land in a push up on the floor. Explosively drive off of the floor so you land back in a push-up on the platforms. Make sure to land with bent elbows to avoid strain in your joints and wrists, and keep your core tight to protect your spine. Start with 6 reps. As you get stronger, you can add more reps or perform the exercise for time.
Muscular Emphasis: Pectorals, Core, Triceps, Deltoids, Posterior.
3. Push Up-To-Stand
Instructions: Start by in a push-up position. Create tension in your entire body as your lower into your push-up, then drive off of the ground as explosively as you can so you finish standing tall with perfect posture. The last thing to leave the ground here will be your fingers.
Prepare your body for this plyometric exercise by performing a few normal push-ups. This is a very advanced exercise, so get comfortable with plyometric push-ups and depth push-ups before attempting this variation.
Muscular Emphasis: Pectorals, Triceps, Deltoids
Build Strength Before Doing Plyos
If you want to add plyometric exercises to your workout routine, make sure you have a solid base of strength and stability first. These exercises are intense, so it's important that you can perform full range-of-motion push-ups with perfect form before attempting these moves. When you're ready to add plyometrics to your workout program, always warm-up properly beforehand so you're body is prepared for an explosive workout.
For more plyometric ideas, check out the full article - 7 Upper Body Plyometric Exercises to Add To Your Routine.