Plyometric workout or also known as jump training is a method of conditioning designed to make a muscle reach maximal force in a short time. The plyometric workout shouldn’t be mistaken with the heavy weight lifting. Unlike an exercise such as bench press, the plyometric exercise is characterized by quick and powerful muscle contraction immediately followed by rapid shortening of that muscle.
The time between muscle contraction and shortening is very important and should be as short as possible. Exercises that involve explosive jumping, hopping, throwing can be considered plyometric. Strength and power athletes in sports such as American football, Soccer, Volleyball and track regularly perform plyometric exercises as part of there workout and conditioning program.
Plyometrics improve the functions of muscles, tendons, and nerves so that you can run faster, jump higher or hit harder depending on the exercise you perform. Since plyometric exercises stress muscles, connective tissues and joints, they build power, speed and strength, but they also need to be carefully used to reduce the likelihood of injury. Before starting plyometric training make sure you’ve built up your strength and flexibility with regular cardio, weight training, and stretching. You should also consider proper footwear, adequate space, and shock – absorbing landing surface prior to workout.
- Jumping Jack ( called side-straddle hop in the US military) – is a jumping exercise performed by jumping to a position with the legs spread wide and the hands touching over head, immediately followed by returning to a position with the feet together and arms at the sides
- Squat jumps – Squat down and jump as high as possible. Upon landing, squat and immediately jump up again.
- Lateral Jumps – Stand next to an object that you can jump over. Jump sideways to the opposite side of the object, land and immediately jump to the other side. Jump as quickly as possible.
- Plyometric Push-up – Get to a push up position. Lower yourself to the floor, and push off the floor with enough force that your hands leave the floor. Repeat.
- Running-Crawling – Start with marking 100 feet. Get at one of the ends and start running until you reach the 100 feet mark. Stop, turn quick and crawl back until reaching your staring position. Repeat.Run and crawl as fast as you can. The running-crawling exercise is considered plyometric, because of the quick and sharp stops followed by quick acceleration.