Want Plyo? Start Jumping!

Plyometric training, also known as jump training or reactive training, is a popular and effective way for people to improve speed, agility, and power. Think of the ways that professional athletes in all kinds of sports move, cut, jump, tackle, bounce, and explode off the ground—their ability to move like this (and stay injury-free, hopefully) is due to plyometric training.

 However, you can harness the benefits of plyo, even if you are not an elite athlete. This type of training can be added to your normal workouts to improve almost every part of your active lifestyle. Plyometrics can speed reaction time, increase strength, improve cardiovascular fitness, accelerate weight loss, fine tune balance and core stability, and help you kick your own rear!

 So, how can plyometrics help you? Imagine stepping off of a curb clumsily and scrambling to avoid falling onto the pavement. Or perhaps walking your favorite canine companion and suddenly, Fido sees a bird and yanks on the leash—don’t get pulled along with him! And lastly, just living your life—you may have to change directions quickly, grab a runaway toddler, or move in an unusual way—you don’t want to throw your back out!

 Note: Plyo can be intense, so beginners should start with small bursts of activity and build up as their endurance and strength increase. Also, jump training is not advisable without a doctor’s blessing if you have any chronic condition (history of heart disease, diabetes, COPD, high blood pressure), past joint injuries or surgeries (repaired knees and hips, etc.), or muscular instability, especially in the lower body.

 Plyo/Abs Circuit With Step

Here’s my current favorite step workout—a plyo/abdominal combo with strength alternative. Cardio and strength in the same workout? Now, that’s what I call efficient! Turn up your music, grab your stopwatch, and get moving!

 Beginners: Go down the circuit, 30 seconds per each exercise. Repeat circuit if desired.

Advanced: Go down the circuit, 1 minute per exercise. Repeat circuit if desired.

*IMPORTANT: A 5-10 min. warm-up is essential before plyometric training to warm your muscles and avoid injury.

  • Lateral squat jumps on step (start facing left with right foot on step, then lower your body into a squat, jump up and switch feet in the air, landing with your right foot on the floor and your left foot on the step; repeat)
  • Lunge jumps (without step)
  • Abs: crunches OR Strength: DB bicep curl and press
  • Jump squats  (without step)
  • Wall squats  (without step)
  • Abs: bicycles OR Strength: DB lateral raises
  • Fast feet (begin facing the step with right toe lightly resting on edge of step, then jump off your left foot, switching feet in the air, landing on your right foot with your left toe resting on the step; repeat quickly)
  • Step up with high knees
  • Abs: V-outs OR Strength: DB front raises
  • Jumping jacks/prisoner jacks (in 15 sec intervals, switch from jumping jacks to prisoner jacks—prisoner jacks are like jumping jacks, but you stay low in a squat as you jump and keep your hands behind your head, elbows wide)
  • One-legged squats  (without step)
  • Abs: Plank OR Strength: DB triceps extension

Cool-down: Spend  5-10 min. walking or stretching. This is your treat for all your hard work!

Have a fabulous week, my friends, and get bouncing!


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