Spring has sprung. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, things are greening up. I don’t know about you, but this weather makes me want to jump, run, skip, like when we were little kids. Take advantage of this beautiful weather and take 20 minutes to do an outdoor plyometric workout that will burn the calories, tone and tighten, and make you feel like a kid again.
Plyometric movements, where a muscle is loaded (stretched) and then suddenly contracted in rapid sequence, are used to help you jump higher, run faster, throw farther, or hit harder, depending on the desired training goal. But it is also great for those who are not necessarily athletes, but those looking to spice up their workouts and increase their intensity.
Types of Plyometric Drills
Upper Body: Requires explosive movements of your arms and shoulders. Examples include medicine ball slams, overhead medicine ball throws (against a wall), side medicine ball throws (against a wall), squat throws (against a wall), plyometric push ups (perform a push up with a push off the ground at the end). Each of these are moderate to high intensity. You can change the intensity by using smaller or larger medicine balls.
Lower Body: Requires explosive movements of your hips, glutes, quadriceps (thighs), hamstrings (back of your leg), knees, calves, tibialis anterior, and ankles. With lower body plyometric drills, the intensity can vary. For example, skipping, bunny hops,jump rope, jumps to a step, lateral box jumps, squat jumps are lower intensity. Bounding, lateral step/box push offs, rocket jumps are moderate intensity because they require more explosiveness. Depth jumps (off of a box), single leg hops, zig zag hops, mountain climbers, power skips, and burpees are higher intensity because these require the most explosive power.
I love to add a plyometric drills into my regular strength training workouts. Adding in these drills will increase your heart rate and require that explosive power. One of my theories for adding in sets of plyometric drills to my strength training program is that it will use up that immediate energy for those quick, explosive movements, and using up this energy will require your body to tap into its reserves to make it through the rest of the session, burning more calories as well as calling on more of your muscle fibers to get through the movements. This helps burn more fat and build strength.
Sample 20 minute workout using plyometric drills:
1 set of 10 squats
1 set of 10 push ups
1 set of 25 jumping jacks (plyometric drill)
*Repeat 2 times
1 set 10 step ups each leg (onto a curb, an aerobic step, or anything sturdy that is off the ground)
1 set of 10 bicep curls (using resistance bands, dumbbells, small paint cans, or anything that has a little weight to it)
1 set of 10 triceps dips (off a bench, a chair, or the curb)
1 set of 20 bunny hops (standing straight, jump up off your toes and back down. These are small, quick movements)
*Repeat 2 times
When adding plyometric exercises into your workouts, you want to start off slow (1 or 2 exercises), at a lower intensity and work your way up to the higher intensity movements. But by adding these into your normal workouts can help increase the benefits gained from each workout.
You are BOUND (pun here) to become a fit mama, let us be there to help.