Are you looking for some ways to change up your daily workout routine? Want a fun and challenging exercise that doesn’t require equipment? Are you in good shape and need a little variety? Plyometrics may be the perfect workout for you.
We will discuss the basics of plyometrics and give you 15 workouts that you can try out right away.
What are Plyometrics?
Plyometrics or plyos, formerly known as “jump training,” is a high-intensity and versatile exercise that provides a full-body workout and targets the glutes and legs. Plyos is ideal for training for a sport, such as basketball, or incorporating it into your weekly workout.
Plyos consists of “explosive movements” like basic jumps and hops but with more of a challenging twist, such as jumping on to a box or over cones. Since your muscles stretch every time you jump, muscles become stronger and more toned.
Plyometrics is not designed to be a daily exercise, as your muscles need a rest, but it is safe and effective to do a few times a week.
Plyometric exercises may be ideal for you, if you are in good shape and have an “ok” from your doctor. Don’t try plyo exercises if:
- You have joint problems like arthritis
- High blood pressure
- Are pregnant
- Are sedentary or exercise infrequently
- Haven’t talked with your doctor
Attempting this exercise when you are out of shape or have an underlying health condition may put you at higher risk of an injury. Even if you’re not a good candidate for plyos now, you can start out with lower-intensity workouts and then try the high-intensity jumps later when you are healthier and stronger.
Many people like plyos because it is an alternative to other workouts that require a gym membership or heavy equipment. You can do plyo exercises inside or outdoors, and you don’t need to take a class to enjoy the workout. If you want to make sure that you have the right technique, you might want to check with a professional trainer or someone with experience in the exercise.
Ready, Set, Jump: 15 Plyometric Workouts
To Try Today
Now that we’ve given you an overview of plyometrics, you may be eager to get out and start jumping. Here are 15 plyometric exercises that you can try out right away.
The Plyometric Pushup
Have you exhausted all the variations you can think of when it comes to push-ups? A plyo pushup is a great alternative to try. Start the exercise as you would a regular pushup. The goal is to “explode” from the bottom position of the pushup until your hands leave the ground. Do this exercise for a 15 second run to equal one set.
You may have seen a plyo pushup up performed before, and the person claps their hands together before placing their hands back on the ground. Many plyo experts don’t recommend this move as it can increase your chances of a hand or wrist injury.
A Traveling Pushup
A traveling pushup uses a low platform that is no higher than 6 inches. To do this pushup, start in a regular push up position but with one hand on the platform (and the other on the ground). Do a pushup and switch sides so that the other hand is on the platform. Do these as quickly as you can until you slow down.
Plyometric Forward Box Jumps
Even though you don’t need equipment to do plyos, it can be helpful to do some of the exercises like box jumps. A sturdy wooden box or bench that is knee height or higher is ideal for this exercise.
To do a box jump, squat to the depth of the box to help you “load” for the jump. The goal is to land gently on the box (on the balls of your feet) and step down, not jump off the box.
Sideways Box Jumps
A front box jump is a great plyo exercise, but it doesn’t work all the muscles. Whether you’re training for a sport or want some variety, a lateral (or sideways) box jump is an excellent alternative.
Rather than jumping forward on a box, the goal is to jump sideways onto a box. Don’t forget to step down (rather than jump).
Barbell Lateral Hops
If you’re in the weight room, try this exercise. Hold a weight plate or medicine ball over your head. Lay a barbell on the ground and do lateral hops over the barbell.
Does your plyo coordination need a little work? Bounding is a great way to practice. To bound, start jogging, push off of your left foot as it lands and bring your right knee to a 90-degree angle. Repeat with the other foot and reach forward with your arms as you bound through the air.
Two Leg Bound
While you’re getting the hang of bounding, the two leg bound is a great beginner exercise. Start in a squat position and use your arms to propel yourself. Jump as far forward and as high as you can (imagine yourself having spring-like legs, if that helps).
Cushion your landing as you land back in the squat position and then take your next jump right away. The goal is to repeat ten jumps in a row and quickly.
Plyo Broad Jumps
Broad jumps are unique because you don’t take a running start or first step on one leg to begin the exercise. To do a broad jump, get into a squat position (with legs shoulder-width apart), “explode” up, and use your whole body to propel yourself forward. With a soft landing, resume a squat position and jump again. Think of a broad jump as a super-strength “bunny hop.”
You may have tried a variation of a plyo skater jump in other types of workouts. The skater jump, which is similar to inline skating movements, consists of getting into a squat position with your feet together and putting most of the weight in your right leg.
Push off the right leg and to the opposite side, landing gently on your left leg. Your right leg should go behind you like you’re doing a “curtsy.” Repeat this on the other leg to complete one rep.
Lateral Box Shuffles
This exercise is similar to the skater jump but has a little height added to it for variation and difficulty. Use a box that is about the height of your shin. Stand on the box with your right leg, keeping your left leg on the floor about six inches away. Perform a squat position, lift the left leg foot onto the box and place right foot on the floor.
Like many other plyo jumps, the scissor jump starts out with a regular lunge position. As you squat down and “explode” up you should switch leg positions while you’re in mid-air. With a soft landing, quickly move onto the next jump.
Remember playing hopscotch on the playground? This exercise, which is often called “Dot Drills” may take you back to your childhood. Use a square mat for this exercise and mark five spots just like on dice.
Start with your feet on the two corner dots, hop to the center dot (bringing your feet together), and jump to the top two dots. Repeat this in reverse to complete one rep and repeat ten times. On your second and third sequence, change up your footwork by hopping on one foot rather than both.
Plié Squat Jump
This ballet-inspired plyo jump is great for the abs and legs. Stand with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart and with your toes pointed outwards. Lower into a deep squat and hands clasped in front of your chest.
Jump as high as you can and tap your heels together in mid-air. Land softly and repeat the jump; do this for about 45 seconds.
To do this pop-up exercise, lie facedown on the floor with your palms next to your chest and toes turned under (much like a pushup position).
Perform a pushup and use your upward momentum to bring your left foot between your hands to quickly stand up. Do a plié squat and bring your hands beside your chest. Reverse the motion and continue by alternating legs for about 45 seconds.
BOSU Ball Plyo Burpees
If you have a BOSU ball at home and you’re looking for a new way to use it, this plyo exercise may be the perfect addition to your workout.
Place the ball in front of you and upside down, so the flat bottom is facing upward. Get into a squat position with your shoulder-width apart and drop down into a pushup position. Bring your knees into your chest (much like a Mountain Climber exercise) and then “explode” up with the BOSU ball above your head. Softly land your jump and do another rep.