Explode for results!
One of the best ways to push your muscles to the max is to completely change up how you exercise to shock them into growing stronger, bigger, and more functional.
This is plyometrics—the category of training for those who want to challenge themselves to get results faster. The price that you pay is more effort, more exertion and more stamina.
Explosive plyometric workouts are not for the faint of heart. They are for people who want the competitive edge in sports and for those who want to build strength and metabolism at a record rate.
Most workouts are designed for isotonic fitness. This is the traditional way of performing a specific exercise in a controlled and steady motion. The focus of isotonic exercise is control and strict technique.
In contrast to isotonic exercises are plyometrics. These are exercises that focus on fast-twitch muscle fibers through explosive, fast, intense motions.
The benefits of plyometric exercises are great for anyone interested in time-efficient workouts that are a great challenge. Explosive exercises utilize more than one muscle group at a time so they burn more calories and build metabolism faster than regular isotonic training.
Plyometrics are an excellent tool for athletes who want to increase power, speed, quickness and agility. These same training techniques can help supercharge the metabolism to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time because of the high demand of muscle fiber recruitment to perform the exercises. Anyone interested in losing fat would greatly benefit from plyometric training.
An advantage of “plyo-training” is that the exercises are for the most part very simple, ground-based exercises. There is no need for expensive equipment to get an amazing workout with these explosive exercises.
Here are five plyometric exercises that are easy to incorporate into your regular workout routine for a jolt of explosive shock to the muscles:
A box jump (simply jumping from a standing position onto and off of a designated box) is a classic plyometric exercise. It will force the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves to all work together as a team. Box jumps also are a very effective exercise for increasing vertical jump.
Clap pushups are another great plyometric exercise. Try to clap your hands as you push hard enough to catch some air while doing a pushup. Allow your elbows to bend very smoothly as your hands land flat on the ground. These explosive pushups serve as a great addition to any chest and/or shoulder workout routine for increasing strength. If you are stuck at a particular weight on bench press, then clap pushups could be the missing link in your routine for a new one-rep max.
Jump Lunges build tremendous strength in the leg muscles while also forcing the cardiovascular system to go into overdrive mode. Begin by stepping into a regular forward lunge, and then explode into the air with a jump while switching legs extremely fast to land with the opposite leg in front descending into the lunge immediately. Repeat the alternating movement until the set is complete.
Burpees are a multi-part exercise that begins with a standing position. First, crouch by bending the knees and placing the hands flat on the ground. Second, shoot the legs straight out behind you so that you are now in a pushup position. Third, pull the legs back into the crouching position. Finally, stand straight up and jump, with slightly bent knees. If you would like to add an extra challenge then perform a full pushup while in the pushup position before resuming the regular burpee technique again. This exercise is one of the most space-efficient and hard-hitting cardiovascular movements that you can do.
Mountain Climbers are great for lower abs and hip flexors. Begin by crouching into a lunge stretch position with one leg in front and the back leg extended straight out on the ball of your foot with hands flat on the ground. Quickly pull the back leg forward and extend the front leg back in a fast, alternating motion. Try your best to make the motion fluid and not choppy. You will find a rhythm the more you practice mountain climbers.
Plyometrics are an excellent way to revitalize your workouts with very little equipment and time. You can perform an entire workout with exclusively plyometrics or use them in your regular workouts as a warm-up or burnout.
Start exploding and start seeing better results!
Sammy Cusimano is the founder of Genesys Training based out of New Orleans, LA and has been a professional trainer since 2001. His experience with training clients ranges from competitive athletes to senior citizens. Cusimano’s goal as a trainer is to help clients safely reach their fitness potential and become the best version of themselves for overall health and wellness.