5 Reasons To Add Plyometric Training To Your Fitness Routine
Do you remember the days when you were still in school and had to take gym classes? Well, all of those activities your physical education teachers used to make you do– the running, the sprinting, and jumping all over the place, are all called plyometrics.
Back then, it may have seemed like just a bunch of random physical activities your gym teachers had you do to keep you busy, but in reality, there was a good reason behind all of those moves. Plyometric training activities are an ideal way for you to get your entire body in shape as quickly as possible.
What Is Plyometric Training?
Plyometric Training, also called plyometrics, is a compilation of physical exercises that consist of what are called “explosive” movements.
Some primary examples of plyometric training exercises include:
• Jump lunges
• Box jumps
• Mountain climbers
Benefits Of Adding Plyometric Training To Your Fitness Routine
There can be many reasons why an individual would want to add plyometric training to their regular fitness routine. The benefits and advantages of incorporating plyometrics are many.
Below you find five very good reasons why you may want to consider adding plyometric training to your fitness routine:
1.) Plyometric training helps you get more exercise done in less time
Instead of spending an hour or more on an elliptical or another exercise machine, you can do some plyometrics and the same level of benefits and results in minutes instead of hours, especially with regular practice. Faster and more effective workouts are a no-brainer, and you will have less of an excuse not to work out.
2.) Plyometric training helps your body burn more fat and calories
By nature, plyometrics are high-intensity exercise activities, and they help you burn significantly more fat than other exercises that are slow to moderately paced, like traditional cardio. In addition, plyometric training provides your body with an after-burn effect which means that for the 24 to 48 hours directly following your workout, you will be boosting your metabolism and continuing to burn calories.
3.) Plyometric training helps you build strength
The focus of plyometric training is primarily on increasing fast twitch muscle fiber strength and efficiency. What this means is with regular incorporation of plyometrics into your fitness routine you can gain both strength and speed, without ever having to lift any weights.
4.) Plyometric training helps build joint and bone health
Resistance training of any type is beneficial to the building and maintenance of joint and bone health, and plyometrics is a form of resistance training. Incorporating the following exercises in your workout will help you build healthier joints and bones for life:
• Plank jumps
• Squat jumps
• Tuck jumps
5.) Plyometric training boosts overall athletic performance
Regardless of whether you are an avid rock climber, runner, or ultimate Frisbee player, plyometric training can help you get in better shape for and boost your overall performance in any activity or sport that you enjoy taking part in.
Plyometric workouts are high-impact, which means they are hard on the joints and include high-intensity and explosive movements. If you have any medical conditions or concerns, it is important to check with your doctor to make sure that this type of exercise is appropriate for your state of health.
When you first start with plyometric exercises, you may find them difficult, especially if you are out of shape or have not been working out consistently for some time. Don’t give up! It may take some time to get through an entire routine when you first begin, but the rewards are great.
Also, don’t overreach your enthusiasm by doing too much too soon or taking on advanced moves that require advanced strength and fitness levels. Start with beginner moves, low reps, and practice form, even if that means you can only do 5 or 7 minutes in 1 session. Keep adding time and reps as you get stronger and you will see your fitness level improve while avoiding injury at the same time.
A thorough warm-up and cool-down are essential before plyometric training. Moves that increase heart rate along with dynamic stretching and general mobility, especially at the joints make for the best warm-ups.
The cooldown should gradually return you to the pre-exercise state; it is never a good idea to stop cold in the middle of intensive training.
There are many benefits to gain from implementing plyometric training into your regular fitness routine. If you want to experience some of these benefits and advantages, it may be time for you to consider incorporating plyometrics into your exercise routine right away.
Adding Plyometric Exercises To Your Regular Exercise Routine
When you refer to plyometric exercise, you may as well reference it as “jump” training. After all, that was its original designation when it was developed by a Russian researcher, Yuri Verkhoshansky in 1964.
Plyometric exercise, at that time, was designed to enhance the athletic performance of Olympians in Soviet Bloc countries. In the ’70s, sports teams also took up “jump training” to power their performances. They wanted to obtain the same kinds of results that caused Russian and Soviet Bloc athletes to dominate Olympic sports activities during the 60s and 70s.
Key Benefits of Plyometric Workouts
Apparently, given the history of plyometrics, these kinds of exercises, which involve explosive movements, can benefit fitness enthusiasts and today’s athletes too. The training “jumps” that were invented for plyometrics have resulted in key health benefits – not only for professional athletes but also for anyone involved in strength training or a regular fitness regimen.
Plyometrics workouts lead to such improvements as:
• Enhanced performance
• Increased strength and muscle power
• Additional calorie burn
• Better endurance
No Need to Visit a Gym – You Only Have to Know How to Jump
While most strength training activities entail the use of barbells or some type of weight equipment, plyometric exercise does not. Therefore, plyometric exercisers can build up their muscles and increase their endurance without actually visiting a gym – all of which makes this kind of exercise routine very affordable.
The Proof is on Olympic Scorecards
Athletes in the Soviet Bloc who trained for the Olympics using plyometrics proved that enhanced performance and increased endurance were two of the byproducts of “jump training” activities.
Recognized Among Olympic Athletes
If these kinds of exercises can lead you to receive a gold or silver medal as an Olympian, they are activities that should be noted by “fitness buffs” as being advantageous to their pursuit of fitness.
The Box Jump – Not a Beginner Jump
You simply cannot practice plyometrics and be out of shape. Plyometric exercise serves to maintain one’s stamina and endurance just as much as it is designed to enhance it. For example, box jumps involve jumping up and down on a box platform about 1.5 feet in height. Naturally, this kind of exercise is not designed for a beginner. However, that does not mean beginners cannot work toward including plyometric exercises in a less rigorous routine.
Low to High-Intensity Plyo Exercises
To include plyometric exercise into your current workout schedule, you need to measure the intensity of the training you select. While most skipping exercises are considered low intensity, reactive drop jumps of about 32 inches are considered the highest intensity workout that plyometrics represents.
Avoid Ankle Weights
When incorporated into workout activities, the plyometric exercise should begin with a low-intensity set and work up from there. Don’t add ankle weights or weighted vests when practicing plyometrics. They are not necessary. Too much of a load can decrease the quality and speed of movement during play sessions.
Number of Repetitions
Besides the intensity of the workout, adding plyometric exercises into a routine also entails considering the volume. Volume references the number of reps that are performed during an exercise session.
For example, a beginner should include 80 to 10 ground contacts when jumping while an intermediate exerciser should make 100 to 120 ground during a plyo routine. Advanced plyo exercisers should hit the ground during jumps from 120 to 140 times.
Frequency of Exercise
Usually, a couple of sessions of plyo exercises can be completed weekly. Recovery time between sessions is generally 48 to 72 hours. Do not schedule plyo exercises right after a day of high-intensity weight training—instead, alternate high-intensity and low-intensity sessions between the upper and lower body. For example, if you use high-intensity strength training on Monday, coordinate that session with a low-intensity lower-body plyometric exercise.