There’s a reason why plyometric exercises are popular among athletes. Powerful and fast movements are used to increase strength, power and speed. Thus, athletes often use plyometric exercises to improve their performance in sports such as basketball and track and field. But you can also use plyometrics as a form of exercise. Read on to discover the benefits of plyometric exercises and how to do them.
What are plyometric exercises?
They are explosive exercises in which the muscles are first stretched and then quickly contracted, just like an elastic band. This process allows the muscle to generate more force than when it contracts more slowly, says fitness expert Varun Rattan.
What are the benefits of plyometric exercises?
These exercises are not only good for athletes, but also for those who want to improve their overall fitness. Here are some benefits:
1. Increased power and speed
Plyometrics trains the muscles to fire faster, and this can improve speed and strength in activities such as jumping, running and throwing.
2. Improved vertical jump
These exercises are effective for improving vertical jump height. This is because certain plyometrics train fast-twitch muscle fibers in the legs and hips.
3. Improved maneuverability
Some of these exercises require the body to move quickly in different directions, which can improve agility.
4. Reduced risk of injury
Plyometrics strengthens muscles, tendons and ligaments and also improves neuromuscular coordination.
5. Improved bone density
Plyometric exercises place high impact loads on the bones, which can increase bone density, says Rattan.
6. Increased cardiovascular fitness
Plyometrics involve short bursts of intense activity and then periods of recovery so they can improve cardiovascular fitness.
7. Reduced stress
It is believed that exercise in general uplifts the spirit. Plyometric exercises release endorphins, which have a mood-boosting effect.
8. Improved body composition
These exercises can help increase muscle mass while reducing body fat, improving your body composition.
What are the best plyometric exercises?
Try the following plyometric exercises for the most effective results!
1. Box jumps
Stand in front of a box that is at or slightly below knee height. Get into the quarter squat position and jump up explosively so that your feet land on the box, then step back down and repeat.
2. Tuck jumps
To do this, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, then jump up and tuck your knees into your chest. Straighten your legs and land softly, with your knees slightly bent and repeat.
3. Depth jumps
Stand on a box or stepper that is about 12 inches (30 cm) high, jump off and land softly on the floor. While you do this, your knees should be slightly bent. Step back onto the box or stepper and repeat.
4. Bench press
Lie on a bench with your feet flat on the floor and grasp the Smith machine bar. Grip it slightly wider than shoulder width and then remove it from the rack. Lower the bar to your chest and then explosively press the bar up and throw it as high as you can. Catch the bar as it goes down and lower it back to your chest.
5. Lateral borders
Make sure you are standing with your knees slightly bent and your feet shoulder-width apart. Tie sideways to the right, landing on your right foot. Immediately jump back to the left and land on your left foot. Continue switching sides.
As with any exercise, start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. You should avoid plyometric exercises if you are in pain, and stop doing them before fatigue sets in.