Plyometric Training 101: Your How To Guide
As you build your workout programs, at some point you may decide you want to try a new form of training that’ll help you take your fitness one step further.
Plyometric training can offer great challenge, improve areas of your fitness that straight cardio or strength training can’t, and will provide excellent transfer-over benefits if you participate in sports.
Let’s go over some of the facts about plyometric training so that you can decide if it’s something you’ll want to include in your workout routine.
What Is Plyometric Training?
Plyometric training is a form of training that requires the muscles to exert a maximum amount of force over a very short period of time and revolves around the jumping action.
This type of training focuses almost exclusively on fast twitch muscle fibres, so is excellent for any type of sport that requires all out bursts of activity.
Plyometric training was formerly called jump training as it trains you to improve your jumping ability, so is also great for any sport that incorporates jumping into your performance such as basketball, volleyball, or tennis.
Who Should Do Plyometric Training?
Plyometric training is best done by those participating in the sports just named above, as well as for anyone who simply wants to increase their explosiveness, power and even agility.
Those who regularly perform very heavy weight lifting may turn to plyometrics to help build this explosive element of their fitness, which may then help them lift more weight when they’re back doing their usual exercises.
Plyometric training, as it is quite intense, can also be done by those who want to burn more calories during their workout, improve their cardiovascular fitness level, and who would like a change of pace from the traditional cardio routine.
While conventional plyometric training typically requires longer breaks between exercises (to allow for full recovery for optimal performance), if you reduce the rest time, you can get a very good calorie burn from the session, not to mention boost in your metabolic rate.
The drawback is your performance may compromised slightly by the shorter rest periods, however if that is not your top priority, it’s a trade-off you may be willing to make.
Adding Plyometric Training Into Your Workout Routine
If you’ve decided that you’d like to get started with plyometric training, the first thing to note is that it should never be done on the same day you do very heavy lifting, especially for the lower body.
As heavy lifting will greatly fatigue your fast twitch muscle fibres, this means they won’t be able to fire as rapidly to execute plyometric training properly.
Do your plyometric training on off days or on days that you are only doing light endurance work (and preferably start the session with your plyometric training).
Also be sure that you are always warming up before starting your training as it’ll be quite easy to pull a muscle when doing this form of workout.
Some of the best plyometric exercises to consider adding to your routine include:
Squat Jumps – Squat and jump as high off the ground as possible
Lateral Jumps – Squat and jump to one side as far over as possible and back again
Tuck Jumps – Squat and jump up, tucking the legs into the body in the process
Box Jumps – Squat and jump up onto a box that’s 18 inches or higher (the higher the box, the harder the exercise)
Vertical Depth Jump – Jump off of a box, landing in a squat position and then rebound up off the ground as high as possible for another jump
Clap Push Up – Perform a push-up and then press up into the air, aiming to clap the hands before landing
Any of these exercises can be used to form your plyometric workout routine, helping you take your fitness to a higher level.