Plyometrics workout plans build strength and pack a calorie-walloping punch
At Total Athletic Performance (T.A.P.) of Naples, certified personal trainers Derek Touchette and Andrew Miranti use plyometrics workout plans as the power component of their programming. “We will incorporate plyometrics so that athletes have to convert a strength movement into a power movement,” says trainer Miranti. “For example, as soon as an athlete finishes a set of back squats, they will perform a set of box jumps, making them convert strength to power. We often ‘super-set’ a strength component with a power component.”
Plyometric workout plans, sometimes lovingly referred to as “plyometrics,” are exercises that require you to exert the maximum amount of force in as short a time as possible. The goal with plyometrics is to increase both speed and power throughout the body. Because they torch calories while building muscle, when done correctly, plyos can help athletes of all levels achieve their fitness goals quickly.
One of the main benefits to using plyometrics in your program is that they help stimulate and recruit different types of muscle fibers. They also challenge you to incorporate different muscle groups all in one action.
The T.A.P. trainers warn that while plyometrics are an excellent addition to your workout, you should make sure you’ve mastered proper squat technique first. Once you’ve got that down, you can jump-start your fitness using these four exercises.
Set your feet in an athletic position, as if you are about to squat, with your hands down by your sides. Descend so that your legs are parallel to the ground and then drive up, jumping as high as possible. Make sure to consciously push as hard as you can through your feet, ankles, knees, and hips. Drive your arms up towards the sky, reaching tall.
When you land, attempt to absorb the load of the jump by landing with your hips down and back. Activate the glutes and hamstrings so you don’t “ride” the jump too low. Do not let your weight shift backwards as you land.
Beginners should do 2-3 sets of 3-4 reps, while advanced athletes should shoot for 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps.
Use the same setup for the box jump as you did for the squat jump, but this time set yourself up a comfortable distance away from a sturdy box. Drop your hips, swing your arms from back to front and push your feet evenly off the floor. Land as softly as you can on the box, and allow your glutes and hamstrings to absorb the force.
This is a complex, multi-joint exercise, so make sure you pick a box height that is comfortable. Once done with proficiency, you can move up in height.
Perform 2-4 sets of 2-5 reps, allowing full recovery (usually about 90 seconds, or until your heart rate gets back to normal) between sets. Even if you’re feeling great, resist the urge to add on extra sets, as you risk running down your central nervous system.
Pogo Squat Jumps
This exercise is great for boosting your vertical jump. Start with your feet together and your arms by your side. Launching off the balls of your feet, jump up vertically, while keeping your knees as straight as possible. Repeat quickly. If done correctly, you should be bouncing like a human pogo stick. While in the air, make sure your toes are pulled up towards your shins, but land back on the balls of your feet—not on your heels. When doing low pogo squat jumps try and do as many as you can in a certain amount of time. When doing high pogo squat jumps, aim to jump as high as possible each time.
Low Pogo Squat Jumps – 2-3 sets of 12-15 seconds, rest 45 seconds between each set.
High Pogo Squat Jumps – 2-3 sets of 8-10 seconds, rest 45 seconds between each set.
Depth Drop to a Box jump
This is the most taxing on the central nervous system and has the highest impact of all these exercises. However, when done properly it can have a really positive effect on power and strength development.
You’ll need two platforms for this exercise—they can be either of equal size or the first (which you’ll start the exercise on) can be slightly shorter.
Stand on the smaller box and step off of it and onto the ground. Step heavily, and make sure both feet hit the floor simultaneously, but do not jump. As soon as both feet are on the ground, perform a box jump onto the other box. Make sure to push off equally with both feet. Land with your hips back and down and as quietly as possible.
Because these are high impact and are taxing, do just 2-3 sets with 4-6 reps each, and recover fully—for at least two minutes—between sets.
Download a copy of the workout here: FN_Nov_Dec_Train.