Array

Just a hop, skip and a jump to better shape

Here’s what you need to know about plyometrics.

Not intended for beginners, plyometric exercises are designed for seasoned athletes or intermediate fitness folks who want to improve their performance.

Play tennis and want to pivot from side to side faster? Play football and want higher, faster explosive movements? Or want to improve overall explosiveness in your strength training? Then you can benefit from plyometric activities.

Called ‘plyo’ for short, plyometrics are also known as ‘jump training’ because of the many hops, skips, and jumps that make up a workout. Wonder what a plyo workout entails and how it works? Keep reading.

The Plyo theory – studies show plyometric training improves an athlete’s performance, explosive power, balance and body control.

So how does jumping achieve these goals? Isn’t just practice, practice and more practice of your skill all you need?

When you land on the ground from a jump, your muscles stretch. Plyometric exercises teach you how to stretch your muscles before you contract them when you land from a jump. Repeatedly stretching and contracting your muscles is a sure-fire way to get them in shape fast. It sounds strange, but the skills you learn doing plyometrics require muscle groups to coordinate so your whole body is involved in moving more quickly and aggressively.

Fitness gains – a plyometric workout is high-intensity and high-impact.

Unlike your usual strength-training routine, plyometric exercises are quick and require explosive movements. While you’ll get a whole-body workout, most of the movements target your legs and glutes. Your core, arms and back muscles are used, just not pushed to their limits like your lower-body muscles.

You’ll no doubt gain flexibility and strength by the continual contraction and stretching of muscles. And while plyometrics isn’t considered cardio exercise, it definitely works your heart.

With a name like ‘jump training’ you can guess what’s involved in a plyo workout – jumping, and lots of it.

You may do jump squats, one-leg hops, jump over hurdles or cones, or jump up onto a step.

Other examples of jumps include depth jumps, rebounding jumps, vertical jumps, ski jumps, tuck jumps and split jumps. You get the point. The speed and height of certain jumps can be measured and recorded to track progress.

A few of the more popular plyo exercises include the front box jump, lateral jump and broad jump. The front box jump is useful for increasing your vertical jump height by strengthening your glutes and quads.

The lateral box jump is effective at improving your lateral, side-to-side jump distance and speed.

Broad jumps will get your legs strong in no time. Want quick feet, strong ankles and powerful calf muscles? Try weighted lateral jumps.

Remember, plyometrics isn’t for beginners or pregnant women or those with painful joints, weak bones, or nerve conditions.

Anyone with health conditions should get a doctor’s approval before starting a new exercise program.

When getting started, find an experienced trainer (if you already have a trainer, ask them about plyo training in advance) who can teach you the fundamentals of plyometrics, and then start slow.

Because of the intensity of a plyometric workout, it’s not meant to be done every day.

Your muscles need time to recover after a strenuous workout, so give yourself at least one day off between sessions.

Professional athletes often focus on plyos during the off-season months of practice, but will incorporate plyometric exercises during in-season training workouts as well.

It’s a different and fun way to gain muscle, strength and agility.

Jack Wheeler is a personal trainer and owner of 360 Fitness in Red Deer.

Just Posted

WATCH: Pet therapy brings calmness to Winter Games athletes

Canada Winter Games in Red Deer continue on until March 2nd

Jayda Monilaws is selling cupcakes again for Central Alberta Humane Society

The 10-year-old Red Deerian is selling cupcakes today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Alberta was crowned champions in Wheelchair Basketball at Canada Winter Games

Ontario won silver while Quebec took home the bronze medal

Pride Days are Feb. 21st and 28th during the 2019 Canada Winter Games

Events will be held at the 52 North Music + Cultural Festival

PHOTO: Meeting of the mayors

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman, Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer and Naheed Nenshi, mayor of Calgary enjoyed a meeting at the Winter Games Thursday.

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

Child advocacy centre raising funds through Dream Home Lottery

The child advocacy centre in Red Deer uses its resources to help kids all over Central Alberta

Trudeau tells Canadians to listen to clerk in SNC-Lavalin matter

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick delivered a blunt assessment at the House of Commons justice

Mueller report looming, new attorney general in hot seat

Robert Mueller is required to produce a confidential report to pursue or decline prosecutions

B.C. woman shares story of abuse with church officials ahead of Vatican summit

Leona Huggins was the only Canadian in the gathering ahead of a historic summit at the Vatican

Sylvan Lake’s Megan Cressey misses Freestyle Skiing Big Air podium

Alberta’s Jake Sandstorm captured silver in the men Freestyle Skiing Big Air contest

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

Most Read