I love Plyometrics. As a sprinter and as a bodybuilder! There's so many ways to incorporate them into your training. So what are plyometrics?
Basically they are jumping and hopping exercises that help develop speed, power and explosive strength. They are an advanced training technique.
If im doing a track session I do running drill plyos and if im at the gym I do bodyweight and box plyos. The easiest way for a gym trainer to add plyos to their session is to look at bodyweight and box type plyos and there are lots of ways in which you can incorporate them into your training, depending on your specific goal.
There are lots of plyometric exercises, from skipping, to track drills like bounding and hoping, to gym based exercises such as a variety of box jumps, depth jumps, burpees, tuck jumps, jumping jacks, hopping and also upper body plyos like clap hand press ups. This video playlist below shows some examples of exercises that can easily be incorporated into a gym based plyo session.
Who should use them?
Athletes have used them for years to improve sports performance, but the general gym user and physique competitors will benefit from them too! You can use plyometric exercises to develop speed and power to assist sports performance, as a conditioning option or as an advanced technique in your weights routine to spur you on to more muscle gains.
How do you fit them into your routine?
If you want to incorporate plyometrics into your cardio conditioning there are a couple of ways you can use them. Circuit Training (a number of exercises performed one after the other, and then repeated) Circuits can be modified to focus more on strength or conditioning, adding some plyo exercises into a circuit will bring your heart rate up and raise the intensity of a general whole body circuit class. You could also make up a circuit of purely plyometric exercises for a short sharp high intensity session.
High Intensity Interval Training
Plyometrics work really well for a TABATA session (type of high intensity cardio) This is a HIIT (high intensity interval training) session that lasts 4 minutes, 20 seconds full intensity 10 seconds rest repeated 8 times. TABATA was designed to bring about the biggest increase in fitness in the shortest amount of time.
Weight Training Plyos
For advanced lifters, plyometrics can be used for a type of training called Complex Training where you superset a strength exercises like Squats, deadlifts and leg press with a plyometric exercise (this is quite taxing on the central nervous system so if you do this, just do it for a few weeks then have a break from it) It is not a beginners option, you should be experienced training before attempting this.
How do I get started
Start with two footed exercises and a few sets with full recovery and build up volume gradually. Progress to single leg (hopping) exercises as a more advanced exercise as more stress is placed through the joints.
If you are using plyos for conditioning, take short recovery's between sets. To develop speed, power, strength and explosiveness, perform exercises fast and take full recovery between exercises so you can generate as much power as possible!
Regular plyo training in conjunction with strength, conditioning, sport specific training etc can assist sports performance, improving speed, strength and explosiveness. So they are essential for any sports where acceleration, speed and explosiveness are key! As a physique competitor I use plyos instead of cardio to maintain muscle mass on my legs, keep a great shape in quads, hamstrings and glutes and its so much more fun than endless cardio!!!! As plyos are high intensity exercise they help boost your post exercise metabolism, so great to use if trying to lose fat!
Plyometric exercises involve an increased risk of injury because large forces are generated whilst performing them. Plyos should therefore only be performed by well-conditioned individuals under supervision. You should already have good levels of physical strength, flexibility, and coordination before embarking on plyometric training. Make sure you don't do plyos every day, recovery is important! Always check with a doctor & fitness professional before starting any new exercise regime!
This post was brought to you by GN Academy member Julia Hubbard. If you’d like to find out more about the GN Academy or apply to join then you can do so here. You can also contact Julia for more tips & advice here.