Cardio for Women

The Benefit of Plyometrics

Jump training is a great way to increase strength and stamina. Here’s why you should incorporate it into your routine.

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Plyometrics is a type of exercise that involves explosive compound movements such as jumps, skips and hops done with just your bodyweight or a very light load. The goal is to achieve maximum force production in a minimum amount of time by quickly lengthening, then contracting your muscles. This works to increase the force and speed of your muscular action, boosting the power and strength of your body while elevating your heart rate and burning mega calories in the process.

Plyometrics is a great addition to your workout program this month. It helps build fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are the largest and most powerful in your body, and the more muscle you have the higher your metabolism will be. It’s also a very intense way to train, and just a 15- to 20-minute plyo session can completely deplete your body of blood sugar and stored calories. This means your body must play catch-up to replenish those stores for the rest of the day, and draw from your fat reserves to do so.

When doing plyometrics, a proper warm-up is essential. Perform some light cardio followed by dynamic stretching for five to 10 minutes, then begin the workout. Do each rep with all-out effort and rest just long enough between sets to catch your breath. Explosive moves with soft landings are key for maximal muscle recruitment and joint preservation, respectively. Afterward, cool down and stretch thoroughly to flush toxins and wastes from your cells. Do no more than two to three plyo workouts per week.

NOTE: If you have a previous knee, hip or back injury, consult with your doctor before training with plyometrics.