If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, it’s time you experience the benefits that elite athletes have been reaping for decades
Plyometrics have long been a staple in the conditioning programs of elite athletes. But nowadays, plyo isn’t just the domain of the pros. Weekend warriors the world over are starting to clue in to the many benefits of this performance-boosting, muscle-building, calorie-torching, and fat-scorching brand of exercise.
The explosive jumping movements involved in plyo make it a high-intensity, dynamic workout that seriously taxes your aerobic capacity, speed, agility, coordination, balance, and muscular endurance. And if you still haven’t checked rocking those wild print leggings off your to-do list, plyo will whip your assets into shape like nothing else.
“The jumps really target the legs and glutes,” says Jen Keirouz, the model for this feature and co-owner of RichBody – Fitness Lifestyle Experts in Leamington, Ontario. Since your legs are the driving force behind the explosive jumps, just a few weeks of consistent plyo training will translate into a more sculpted booty and a knockout pair of muscled, toned pins.
Plyometrics target your fast-twitch muscle fibres, which are used to execute moves requiring short, quick bursts of power. Because of this dynamic nature, plyo can put a lot of stress on the joints, explains Keirouz. That’s why this high-impact workout should be approached with some degree of caution – it’s a good idea to perform it sparingly as part of your workout routine, or even incorporate a few moves into your regular weights workout. Above all, Keirouz points out that plyo shouldn’t replace your weightlifting routine.
“While these explosive compound movements are great for sculpting the lower body, they don’t have a huge effect on core strength or building the upper body,” she explains. “That’s why weight training is essential for overall muscle development.”
But if you’re tired of plodding away on the treadmill, plyo is a great way to spice up your cardio routine and send your heart rate soaring. And you can do it anywhere, since it requires minimal equipment.
Ramp up your calorie burn and boost your performance by taking our “Plyo Plunge” two to three times per week. This workout incorporates both explosive motions and body-weight exercises that target the lower-body and core – two areas that you’ll need to boost in order to perform plyo at your best and to make the most bodily changes. Check out our “Plyo Pointers” before jumping in (get it?), choose your timed or rep/set scheme, and, in the famous words of House of Pain (and yes, you’ll be feeling some of that), “jump up, jump up and get down!”
Follow the chart below, performing the moves in order in giant sets of three – that means doing all three movements in a row, then resting before moving on to the next giant set. If you’re new to plyo and prefer to incorporate any of these moves into your regular weights routine, start in a low-rep range of eight to 10 reps for a total of three sets, and work your way up to five sets of 10 reps. Rest as long as you need to fully recover between sets.