Ever wonder how Peter Cottontail continues to deliver all those baskets each and every year without slowing down?
Two words: plyometric exercise.
After all, he’s well-known for “hopping down the bunny trail.”
Put simply, plyometrics are bodyweight exercises that involve jumping. Their primary purpose is to increase power. This is achieved by the jumping motion, which produces a maximum amount of force in the fastest time possible.
Not only that, but they’re also a great way to burn additional calories for advanced trainees. (See those aforementioned Easter baskets.)
Examples of plyometric exercises include:
- Jumping rope
- Jump squats
- Clap push-ups
Plyometric exercises specifically strengthen muscle tissue and train the body’s nerves to produce a specific contraction. They are largely used to help train athletes for activities – basketball, track & field, and more – that depend upon sudden, explosive movements.
The core of plyometric exercise is the stretch-shortening cycle. This consists of three phases:
- The eccentric phase causes the muscle to stretch or lengthen quickly.
- The amortization phase provides a short rest.
- The concentric phase results in an explosive motion that shortens the muscle.
In essence, plyometric exercises allow trainees to apply more strength, faster. And when applied to a specific sport or activity, this boosts flexibility and helps an individual run faster, leap higher, and perform better.
H2: Jumping to Conclusions
Moderate plyometric training twice weekly has been shown to significantly increase an individual’s strength and power. These exercises provide a high intensity workout for the legs and gluteal muscles, and can be combined with other exercises, such as medicine-ball throws, to work the arms.
Better yet, little to no equipment is required for a plyometric routine. A box or a workout bench, at most, is all you really need.
And because plyometric exercises also repeatedly condition muscles at their weakest, fully stretched point, they are essential for injury prevention.
Plyometric exercises cannot be done every day, however. The body’s muscles need to rest and recharge in between sets. They are also not ideal for beginners. Because of the intense level of activity, plyometric exercises are recommended only for more advanced trainees.
In fact, those partaking in plyometric exercises:
- Should be able to perform five squats at 60% of their body weight.
- Should be able to perform 1 squat up to 2 times their body weight for lower body, and bench press of up to 1.5 times their body weight for upper body.
In other words: you’ll want to work your way up to this series of exercises. Fitness Together Ellicott City would leap at the chance to help you get there. Give us a call today at 410-750-2228.