Plyometric exercises have been a mainstay in athletic conditioning for decades, and it’s not difficult to see why.
They’re designed to boost power and strength, improve sports performance and burn more calories. However, plyos aren’t a must-do for everyone. That's because apart from having a high training volume, plyometrics require explosive movements and body control.
Your muscles contract at high speed to produce force, which produces a greater muscle contraction in less time than lifting heavier weights. Plyometrics have been proven to improve agility and mobility as well as increase muscle strength and lean body mass.
Plyometric Exercises to Burn More Calories
Here's a look at six such exercises:
1) Depth Jump
The depth jump is a great plyometric exercise that helps build explosive power. All you need to do a depth jump is a raised platform (i.e., a step) and enough room for a landing.
To do this exercise:
- Jump off the platform backward, landing softly on your feet while squatting.
- To reverse the movement, jump back up onto the platform.
- Try to jump as far forward as you can rather than up in the air. That way, you’ll get more momentum and can return to the platform more quickly.
- To focus on improving your speed, try to keep your feet off the ground as much as possible.
2) Tuck Jump
Tuck jumps are an advanced plyometric exercise that engages your entire core and back, especially the lower abdominal muscles. Make sure you aren't caving in at the knees when squatting or jumping up.
To do a tuck jump:
- Stand with your legs about shoulder-width apart; lower yourself into a quarter squat, and jump vertically.
- Remember that you have to jump quickly for this move to work.
- When you reach the top of your jump, pull your knees into your chest as much as possible.
- Land softly, and pause, or go right back into another tuck jump.
- Make sure your back stays straight during the exercise so that you can bring your knees in and not lean forward.
3) Box Jump
If this is your first time attempting an aerial on a box, check your form first. Make sure you've got the arm swing and landing stance down pat before you try this move. When you land the trick, make sure your knees don’t collapse inward.
To perform a box jump:
- Start on the floor, and jump onto a raised platform. Repeat this action.
- To add variety to your workout, you can go down into a squat position for more explosiveness
- You may also try a split squat jump by starting standing upright with your legs together
- Jump into the air while keeping your right leg forward, and bend at the right knee and left leg supported by your toes.
4) Jump Squat
Jump squats strengthen both your lower and upper body, help you be more explosive, and burn more calories than regular squats. If you have weak ankles, add jump squats to your routine to help build up their strength.
To do them:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart; squat down, and jump up as high as you can.
- When you land, go back into the squat position again to complete one rep.
- To make the exercise more challenging, try holding a medicine ball in your hands when you jump.
5) Plyometric Lateral Jump
If you want to improve your agility and explosiveness, lateral jumps are a good plyometric exercise, as they’re one of the only ways to practice moving sideways, which improves coordination.
To do a lateral jump:
- You can set up a line on the floor, or create one with cones.
- Place your feet about hip-width apart, and bend at the knees to jump sideways so that you cross over the line.
- As you land, drop into a squat.
- Do that again and again, jumping over the line each time for 30 seconds or so. This exercise can be varied by landing on just your right foot.
- Keep your hips and shoulders aligned throughout the movement. Lateral jumps are quite advanced plyometric training exercises.
6) Plyo Push-Up
Experts might say traditional push-ups aren't true plyometrics, but plyo push-ups offer the best of both worlds. These are an upper body workout that also provide the explosiveness of a true plyometric exercise.
To do plyo push-ups:
- Make sure you have good upper body strength first.
- Start in the top position of a normal push-up, with your arms shoulder-width apart and fully extended.
- Keep your core engaged, and create a straight line from your ankle to the back of your head.
- Lower yourself so that your chest almost touches the floor.
- Push up with enough force so that both hands leave the ground.
Plyometric exercises are highly effective for gaining power and explosiveness that will help you to perfect your athletic performance. The good thing is that they're an easy alternative to traditional weight workouts, and they also boost your overall athletic performance.
As long as you are starting out in your workout routine with proper instruction, you should be well on your way to better body control, improved jumping ability and a higher vertical leap.
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