Plyometrics For Beginners: Roundup Of The Best 5 Plyometric Exercises For Legs
Plyometric exercises are dynamic movements that require rapid and explosive contraction of the muscular system and rapid neural motor unit recruitment. Most of us have actually participated in plyometric style activity in our younger years. Remember when as a child you would skip, hop, jump and bound around the playground. These are essentially examples of basic beginner plyometric exercises. Advanced “Plyos” on the other hand are not for the faint of heart. They require maximal effort in each repetition in order to derive the many physiological benefits available. In this post I will introduce you to the top plyometric exercises for beginners. I will also show you exactly how you can take your plyometric training to the next level.
Plyometric exercises can be incorporated into upper body routines by adding exercises such as medicine ball tosses and plyo pushups. However, most plyometric exercises focus on developing explosiveness in the lower limbs through jump related movements. Plyometrics for the legs is our primary focus here at VerticalJumpWorld.com.
If you want to learn how to jump higher, burn calories and become a more athletic version of yourself you should definitely start adding plyometrics to your weekly routine.
Plyometric Exercises Are Not Only For Elite Athletes : Plyometric For Begginers 101
Plyometric exercises are commonly used by elite athletes who want to become more powerful in their specific sporting movements. For example basketball players who want to learn how to dunk a basketball commonly participate jump training with a large plyometric component. It is safe to assume that every NBA and NFL athlete would participate in some form of plyometric exercises.
Over recent years we have seen the rapid rise in popularity of plyos in the mainstream fitness industry. Many popular programs such as p90x now incorporate a plyometric component. The fitness industry has realized the potential of plyos to help boost muscle power, strength, balance and agility.
Perhaps, the greatest advantage of plyometric exercises from a fitness industry perspective is the amount of calories that can be burnt in a single session. The high intensity nature of a plyo session can torch fat fast.
Although we are not concerned with the fat burning potential of plyometrics here at Verticaljumpworld, we must admit that this is a nice side effect of plyometric training.
We are more concerned with using plyometric exercises to build explosive legs that can be used as weapons on mass domination on the court, track or field.
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How To Do Plyometric Exercises The Safe Way
Plyometrics place a huge amount of stress and strain on the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. Yuri Verkonshansky ,the godfather of plyometrics named this form of training “Shock Training” due to the amount of force absorbed and expelled during the movements.
Shock training targets your type II (fast twitch) muscle fibers, which are the largest, strongest, and most powerful in your body. The shock absorption forces stimulate the physiological system to adapt, turning the participant into a more explosive athlete. These physiological processes must be replenished in the hours post workout, hence the increased excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) related caloric burn.
Unfortunately these high impact “shock” exercises can also lead to overuse injuries such as stress fractures and tendinitis (commonly of the Patella and Achilles) if not correctly prescribed.
In order to reduce injury risk when beginning a plyometric exercise routine you should always start small. Don’t let your ego get the best of you. Understand your abilities and limitations and be realistic with your goals and expectations.
Initially, keep your sessions short and limit the amount of force that you expose the body to. Focus on landing safely. Wear comfortable shoes with excellent support.
We cover these topics and much more in our free Jump Training Course.
Monitor the way your body feels the day after training and slowly titrate greater volume and load from there. Be patient!
If you are significantly overweight be aware that jumping will result in a lot more force dispersed through the joints on landing. Force= Mass X Acceleration, so the heavier you are the greater the landing forces you will be exposed to.
Having a strong base of strength is very important before starting plyos, so be sure to develop a foundation of strength before moving on. Here a a few of the best strength training exercises for jumping higher.
Having a greater level of max strength can also raise the bar of potential performance based results that can be derived from plyometric training. The stronger you are, the more active motor units you have. If you are strong, adding in plyos will optimize the rate of force production of the targeted muscle fibres.
Plyometrics can be performed anywhere from 1 to 4 days per week. If you are a beginner you are best to stay on the lighter end of the volume spectrum until your body begins to adapt to the high demands of this form of training.
How To Get Started With Plyometrics
The easiest way to start adding plyometric exercises into your daily routine is to add a plyo element to exercises that you are already using. For example, if you are familiar with the squat movement you could deload the bar, or add some light dumbbells and add in some jump squats.
It is important to focus on limiting the time spent on the ground between jumps. This is known as the amortization phase. Challenging this phase of the exercise will help make you more “springy”.
Here are 5 of my favorite plyometric exercises for beginners:
Plyo Lunge Jump
Plyometric Jump Squat
Adding plyometric exercises into your weekly strength and conditioning workout can be an interesting way to shake up your current mundane routine. Over time you will feel more explosive and athletic. Combining plyos with heavy load, low rep strength training can enhance your results. Just remember to gradually add volume and intensity from a modest starting point in order to limit the risk of overuse injuries.