Plyometric exercises- it’s a love/hate relationship. I love what they do for my body and how they get my heart rate up while building muscle, but I hate them because they are SUPER hard! Like gasping for air hard. But I have to say- its worth the burn!
Plyometric training is basically taking a normal movement and turning it into an explosive, compound movement by adding a jump or lifting off the ground. Plyo exercises are usually done with your own bodyweight- examples are: plyo pushups, box jumps, jump squats and jump switch lunges. By adding a jump into the exercise, you make it a compound movement and add a little more cardio and shock your muscles. They are a great way to shake up your normal workout routine!!
How exactly do they work your muscles differently, you may wonder….
Your body’s muscular system is made up of fast and slow twitch muscle fibers (the fast-twitch fibers are the strongest and largest of the two). You target your fast-twitch fibers when you train by lifting heavy weights, pushing yourself to an anaerobic (huffing and puffing super hard) zone and by doing explosive movements like sprinting and plyometric movements. On the other hand, slow-twitch muscle fibers build with endurance workouts like distance running or low weight/high rep strength training. This is why competitive sprinters tend to have larger, more defined leg muscles, while marathon runners typically have a more long, lean muscle definition.
When you add plyometric movements to your workout, you are increasing the strength of your fast-twitch muscle fibers…scientifically, training this way will make you stronger and faster in a shorter amount of time. You’ll also burn more calories and fat because of the added cardio element to these movements.
My favorite Plyometric Training Movements are:
- Jump squats
- Jump switch lunges
- Box jumps
- Plyo Pushups (these are super challenging!)
Click this link to see how to do these movements and a few more!
Try adding 3 rounds of 20-25 reps of each movement into your routine, you’ll shock your body in a good way! Or, I also like to do each of these for 1 minute, with a 15-30 second rest in between each movement…and then repeat the circuit for a total of 3 times through! Its a super efficient, quick workout guaranteed to get you sweaty!