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Plyometric Exercises: What They Are, Technique, Tips, and Benefits

Box jumps (Image via Pexels/Li Sun)
Box jumps (Image via Pexels/Li Sun)

In recent years, plyometrics has gained popularity as a form of exercise. Although it is commonly considered a form of cardio, it is far more than just that. It features explosive movements that require a lot of power and energy. Because of this, it is a killer way to build strength and endurance.

Although this form of training isn’t designed to target specific areas of the body, it does improve your stamina and agility. Moreover, your muscles take great shape because of the constant shortening and lengthening actions.

For example, while performing jumping squats, power is generated in your leg muscles to help you jump. Upon landing again, the muscles are stretched and draw in more energy for the next rep. The constant eccentric and concentric contractions build muscle size and strength.


What is plyometric training?

Plyometric exercises involve constant muscle contractions (Image via Pexels/Cottonbro)
Plyometric exercises involve constant muscle contractions (Image via Pexels/Cottonbro)

Previously known as jump training, plyometrics are sure to knock the wind out of you. Before attempting a plyometric routine, ensure that you have a basic level of strength and cardiovascular fitness. For example, performing 50 skips straight with the jump rope, jogging for 3 minutes without breaks, performing 10 push-ups in a row, etc. It's always better to venture into plyometrics progressively if you’re a beginner.

Because of the power and energy expended during this kind of training, it is a fantastic way to burn fat, improve quickness, and keep your respiratory system in tip-top shape.

Examples of plyometric exercises include:

  • Burpees
  • Clap push-ups
  • Skater lunges
  • Scissor lunges
  • Box jumps
  • Tuck jumps
  • Star jumps

What all these exercises have in common is that they involve jumping. When performed in the HIIT-style with multiple reps, these can really tire you out in no time.


Tips for beginners

If you’re new to the concept of this form of training and are unsure of how to go about it, here are some pointers to set you in the right direction:

1) Warm up first

Always start with some warm-up exercises (Image via Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio)
Always start with some warm-up exercises (Image via Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio)

Be sure to do some warm-up exercises, like push-ups and squats, to get your blood flowing, and your joints loosened up. Stiff joints and muscles can cause you to pull something and injure yourself.


2) Don’t start on a full stomach

Ensure your last meal was a good hour ago. Engaging in vigorous exercise while your stomach is full is never a good idea, even more so when it involves explosive movements.


3) Start with light cardio

To further warm your body and get yourself ready for the exercises, you can start with some light cardio workouts, such as jogging, skipping, or cycling for a few minutes.


4) Don’t go overboard

Start light, so you don't tire yourself out early. Image via Pexels/Julia Larson
Start light, so you don't tire yourself out early. Image via Pexels/Julia Larson

Start with a 2:3 HIIT ratio wherein you perform the exercise for 20 seconds and rest for 30 (for three to four rounds). You can gradually build on time over the next few weeks.


The benefits of plyometric training

We know plyometric training is great and everything, but what do they really help with? Why are they being talked about so much?

1) Improves endurance

These exercises won’t have you breathing the same way as a 30-minute run. Each set of high-intensity exercises is sure to leave you breathless. Over time, you build on endurance and will be able to withstand more. This is why young athletes are made to do this form of training for sports.


2) Builds strength

Clap push-ups are no joke; they are a strenuous exercise. Regular practice of something does make you better at it, so imagine how many clap push-ups you’ll be able to do if you’re practicing them every few days! The same goes for all of these intense exercises.


3) Burns fat

Due to their high-energy needs and all the jumping, plyometrics burn fat like no other. While running and cycling for long periods burn lots of calories, almost the same amount is burned in just 10 minutes of plyometric training.


4) Can be done anywhere

They can be done anywhere. Image via Pexels/Karolina Grabowska
They can be done anywhere. Image via Pexels/Karolina Grabowska

Hassle-free and also free of equipment, this form of exercise can be performed anywhere and at any time.

All you need is comfortable clothing and shoes, and maybe a towel to wipe away all the sweat you’re bound to produce!


5) Works the entire body

Plyometrics don’t specifically target any part of your body. Instead, they are full-body high-intensity routines that work the entire body and tone all your muscles. For force to be recruited, the entire body needs to be engaged.


It might sound scary and exhausting, but you might just find your favorite form of exercise! Try out a plyometrics routine twice a week and notice how much your body and endurance change in just a couple of weeks. Keep at it, and don’t lose consistency!

Poll : Would you try out plyometrics?

Absolutely.

Not for me.

52 votes

Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh
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