How It Works
You can probably remember those wonderful memories of your childhood when you jumped, skipped, and hopped around the park without any care or worry. There is an exercise that is practiced in many gyms which replicate those energetic movements of your childhood.
Often shortened as “plyo”, plyometrics are formerly known as “jump training”. It is a strength training workout that is essential when you’re training for sports and other activities which require quick movement of the body. You will need to perform a succession of hops and jumps, for instance, squats or hopping on one or both legs. You could jump up and land on a bench or box, or do a series of jumps over cones. However, some movements will certainly be faster and quicker than others.
Whenever you land after jumping, your muscles are stretched and contracted. You will build up more strength over time. Plyometrics is not an exercise to do every day. Your muscles will need time to recover. If you’re just starting for the first time, it is best to start working on your basic fitness first. Then later, have a certified instructor show you how to do the moves so you don’t risk getting injured. You can also Include some plyo movements into your normal routine. This strength training workout can be used as an alternative to enhance your balance, agility, and strength.
What Should I Know?
Intensity Level: High
This power workout uses all the body’s strength to build up those muscles.This is a high impact exercise which involves a lot of hopping and jumping. The movements are swift and explosive; hence you should be ready to expend more energy than that required in a normal strength training exercise.
The Most Targeted Areas:
Legs and Glutes. Your legs will definitely be in good shape because of the frequent hopping and jumping involved. Movements such as jump squats strengthen your glutes making them stouter and firmer. While the whole body is involved, your back, core and arm muscles are not the primary target of the workout.
This exercise is solely based on a combination of stretching and contracting your muscles, which is very important for flexibility.
Plyo is not considered an aerobic exercise. However, if you jump continuously for a minimum of 30-60 seconds per time, you will definitely experience an increased heart rate.
Plyometric exercises are all about enhancing the body’s muscle power.
Good for Beginners?
It is not ideal for beginners. It is best to get involved in a combined aerobic and strength training program first because of the possibility of sustaining serious injuries from the movements.
A definite yes! It can be quite exciting to do this outdoors. Just make sure you have a soft landing surface such as grass.
Yes! You only need to make use of your gym mat with a good grip. It is a much softer and safer landing pad, far better than landing on the cold hard floor.
You don’t need any equipment. If you wish, you can make use of foam barriers or cones to jump. Take it slowly, one move at a time.
Is It Good for Me if I Have a Health Condition?
If you have not been physically active or have an existing health condition, consult with your doctor before getting involved in a plyometrics program. Your doctor will let you know which exercise is safe for you.
If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease, your doctor will probably suggest that you go for exercises of lower intensity.
If you are diabetic with nerve damage, it is not advisable to participate in a plyometric workout program as it can cause further injuries.
If you have arthritis, joint or bone problems, plyometrics may not be a good choice. There are alternative strength training programs out there that can make your muscles stronger without causing added stress to your joints. And last but not least, if you don’t fancy sweating, plyometrics is not the exercise for you.
If you do have a challenge with other physical problems, then go for other safer body strengthening exercises.