Plyometrics (also known as “plyos”) is a type of exercise training designed to produce fast, powerful movements, and improve the functions of the nervous system, generally for the purpose of improving performance in sports.
Recently I have been keeping tabs on all the people I know of who are in either great shape or are superb athletes. They all have one thing in common – The consistent use of Plyometricswhen working out. They may not do regular heavy weight lifting or work out like crazy everyday but they all throw in some sorts of plyometrics into their workout routines…..
Think about the athletes with the most impressive bodies – Sprinters, Gymnasts, Rugby Players, Swimmers they are all doing sports that not only naturally integrate some sort of plyometric movement but they also train using explosive, powerful exercises.
When it comes to the core plymoetrics they really consist of “Jumping Movements” and were first used in the eastern block to train athletes. The interesting thing is many of these movements were copied from children who were seen playing and jumping around.
If you want to see the real kings of plyometric training, go to any playground and watch children play.
The best thing about plyometrics is not the balance and power that are achieved but how fun they are. I use a few plyometrics with my clients on a regular basis and although they are hard people seem to enjoy them, It probably comes down to how natural and exhilarating the movements feel….
For and exercise to qualify as a real plyometric it needs to be something explosive and “jumping” done several times in a row while maintaining a stretch reflex. When you see people do box jumps and stop for a break between reps this is not a plyometric but rather a power exercise, These are great but not the same. It is kind of hard to explain so I have stuck in a few videos below for you to get the idea….
Try Plyometrics Once a Week – At first try plyometrics once a week, either in place of one of your workouts or as an additional workout.
Start Slow and Warmup – Don’t forget plyometrics are very strenuous and should not be used before a through warmup, this is because by their nature plyometrics recruit more muscle fibres than standard exercises. So make sure you warmup well and start slowly.
Use with Caution – Explosive movements make for a hard workout not only for your muscles but for your nervous system in general. You will probably find that after 3 sets of a few different plyometric exercises your muscles will be toasted and you may feel a bit shaky. So be sure to rest up and recover with lots of deep sleep and good eating.
Aim to Improve – Little improvements will make a huge difference when it comes to your performance at sport and your body composition. Adding a few more plyometric reps or jumping a little higher each week or month is a good way to improve and progress with your routine.
Perfect with Sport – Even if you are not a gym type of person, a solid workout of plyometrics once a week coupled with your normal activity of sports, walking, biking etc can have an amazing effect. I have a friend who is a swimmer and only does plyometrics in terms of resistance training, he has a great physique with good athletic muscle tone. This showed me that we don’t always need to be lifting weights to achieve a muscular and athletic body.
Do a Maximum – Of 3 sets of 4 exercises in anyone workout. This is even for the most advanced people, if you are a beginner scale that down to about 2 sets of 2 exercises using a rep range of 10-15 repetitions. This will save you from sacrificing form and stop you getting injured.
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