What the Heck is Plyometric Exercise?
What is Plyometrics?
Plyometrics (plyo) is a type of workout movement that relies on higher intensity, faster movements, jumping higher, and using powerful large moves. It is an excellent workout when you want something different to do other than traditional cardio or weight training workouts. Here are some things to know about plyometrics.
Parts of Plyometric Exercise
Plyometric exercises have two parts. The first part is the lengthening phase, where your muscles are stretched out much like a rubber band that is going to be released. The second portion is the shortening phase, where the energy is released. It is characterized by an explosive or sudden contraction of the muscle. Over time, an athlete will be able to increase their power enough to allow them to jump higher and farther than they were previously able to jump.
Examples of Plyometric Exercises
Some of the best examples of plyometrics exercises are games that were designed for children. These include certain movements in activities like those in jump rope, double Dutch, hop scotch, and jumping jacks. Impact exercises like these can help greatly to contribute to the strength of bone by stimulating a slight increase in bone density. While very similar in theory, plyometric training for children is very different than that of adult athletes. Children’s bodies have not yet developed the bone density or muscle power to execute deep jumps and squats. When doing the exercises, a good rule to follow is that muscles can be used to jolt upwards or outwards, but landings should always be controlled and softer.
For getting started, jumps and hops are excellent ways to get the body used to the movements. See the example to the right for performing a Jump Squat.
Why use plyometric exercises?
If you are wanting to bring power into your movement, these types of exercises will help you safely manage to run, jump, turn, land, and stop with agility and balance. The movements you chose for whole body, upper, and/or lower body will be lower repetitions with higher intensity. This builds muscle strength as well as helps with overall coordination. Plus, some of the exercises like ball slams are really satisfying!
If you are a beginner to these exercises please work with a friend or a professional who can keep an eye on your form and safe execution. If you want more out of your workout, book a session with Nancy to learn some fun exercises.