If your coach or trainer is beginning to take you through some plyometric exercises, or if you are trying them out on your own for variety in your workouts, a new challenge and a fitter body, you have a lot to look forward to. Plyometrics feature explosive power and condition speedy muscle contractions, which proves to improve most athletic activities (particularly start-stop or sprinting sports). For the everyday fit person, it really helps to improve energy, strength, power, heart rate conditioning, injury prevention, and aesthetically lends itself to an overall tight and fit look.
If you are NEW to plyometrics, invest in a trainer to learn it properly from day one. Our bodies pick up bad habits when we train on our own. If you have been dabbling in them or even have been executing these exercises for years, keep these tips in mind:
Exhale upon exertion - for the explosive contraction (jumping up in a squat jump, for example) you want to breathe OUT. Breathe in as you land.
As you land, you need to land SOFTLY. Don't let all of your weight pound into the floor. The goal is to teach the muscles in the body to absorb the impact of hitting the floor, so that the muscles, tendons and ligaments are strengthened and the joints are kept soft and safe.
Think about your CORE. The core (abdominals and erector spinae or lower back) is at the root of all of our movements. The tighter you hold your abdominals back toward your spine, and the more power you recruit from that area (you do this with your brain, first - on top of proper core training), the more successful each repetition will be. You will be able to execute more efficiently.
My favourite plyo moves: Squat jumps, split jumps, lateral jump squats over the bosu, squat jumps forward and backward off of the bosu, lateral hops over a dumbbell / marker, lateral bench jumps.
If you are not 100% sure that you are executing these exercises properly, stop and consult a professional. It isn't worth it to hurt yourself and then restrict your training in the longterm - that is REALLY what holds us back in life.
*featured image found at www.livestrong.com *internal image found at www.experiencelifemag.com