By Mark Jellison, CSCS, SFG
Are you looking for fun, quick, and challenging exercises that will increase the intensity of your workouts? Plyometrics might just be the answer. As a 3x USA Decathlon team member, I know the power of plyometrics. But these exercises aren't just meant for serious athletes; even weekend warriors can add plyometrics to their workout routine to reap impressive benefits.
What Are Plyometric Exercises?
Plyometrics are movements performed rapidly where there's a quick stretching of the muscle followed by a forceful contraction. Some examples include jumping rope, throwing objects like a baseball, and kicking like in martial arts.
High-intensity exercises like plyometrics are so effective because they:
1) Help you burn more fat than low-intensity exercise.
2) They train your fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are responsible for speed and power.
3) They're a fun way to train like a professional athlete.
Before adding plyometrics to your workout, make sure you have a solid base of strength and fitness. These are advanced movements that could increase your risk of injury if you're not conditioned.
After a few weeks of basic strength training, you can consider adding plyometrics for improved sports performance and increased fat-burning. If you've never done them before, consider working with an experienced trainer.
Check out this beginner workout for ideas on how to get started.
Beginner Plyometric Workout
Complete 4 sets, performing the exercises as a circuit. Do each exercise for 45 seconds, resting for 15 seconds between exercises.
1. Jump Rope (alternatives: Fast Run-In-Place)
2. Squat Jack
3. Speed Skaters (alternative: Curtsy Squat)
4. Lateral Thrusters
5. Rest or Shadow Box for 60 seconds
Rest for 60 seconds between sets. Repeat 3 more sets of the circuit. Here's a quick video of me demonstrating the exercises:
Train Like An Athlete
Training like an athlete not only refers to the exercises in your workout, but also to your focus and technique while training. You are responsible for your wellbeing, which means you have to be aware of when your exercise technique has lost its quality. Your goal is to perform every repetition of every exercise with excellent form. Never sacrifice form for quantity. Train smart, focus on movement, and your aesthetics will follow.
For more advanced athletes, give my intermediate and advanced plyometric workout routines a try.
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