When you hear plyometric, you probably think of exercise boxes and people stepping on and off of them really quickly. As it would turn out, plyometrics exercises are actually about a lot more than stepping on boxes. The term describes a particular type of exercise.
Plyometric exercise is the motion of extending a muscle and then quickly contracting it. A sudden and extreme motion, plyometric movement is all about getting muscles to reach their limits both through extension and contraction. The speed of the motion contributes greatly to muscle building.
If you want to seriously build muscles (and can handle the intensity!) then try a plyometrics workout. Create your own using some of these 10 best plyometric exercises:
Standard in school gymnasiums and intense workout facilities, burpees are totally plyometric and excellent at building muscle in your legs, arms, and core.
- Start in a standard pushup position.
- As you raise yourself up on your arms, quickly bring your feet forward.
- At the same time, jump up into a squat.
- Quickly move from the squat into a full upright jump.
- Immediately return to a squat and then to a pushup.
2. Floor to Sky Jumps
Like most plyo workouts, this exercise involves jumping. Simple and quick, though, this exercise doesn’t require any special equipment.
- Squat as low to the ground as you can, huddling into the smallest ball you can.
- Hold for three seconds.
- Jump straight up into the air, reaching your arms as high as you can and extending your legs completely.
- Land in a squat and repeat from beginning as quickly as possible.
3. Lunge Walking
If lunges aren’t already too intense or perhaps seem a little boring, look no further! Lunges are much more intense when you add a plyometric jump into the mix.
- Dip into a full lunge.
- Hold for five seconds.
- Jump up, reaching for the ceiling.
- Immediately return to a standard lunge position, switching legs in the process.
4. One Legged Squat-Ups
Squats are already really powerful muscle-boosters for your legs, but when you perform them one-legged and raised, you can count on them to seriously sculpt your legs and butt too.
- Lower yourself into a squat in the middle of an open space (using a wall only if necessary for beginners.)
- Lift your left leg, crossing it over top your right leg so that you are performing a one legged squat.
- Without using your hands for support or lowering your left leg, stand up on just your right leg. Do this as quickly as possible.
- Immediately return to the squat position and quickly return your left leg to the ground.
- Switch legs and repeat.
5. Four Side Box Jumps
If you do have access to a plyometric box, definitely use it for this important exercise. It will give you noticeable strength after just a few days of exercise.
- Standing in front of a plyometric box, jump up onto it quickly.
- Immediately jump off the front of the box.
- Without turning around, jump back on.
- Jump off to the right side, back on, and then to the left side and back.
- Conclude by jumping backwards off of it to your starting position and beginning again.
6. Scissor Kick Jumps
Requiring some balance, this jump exercise offers the benefits of lunges, jumps, and forward stretches all in one.
- Perform a standard lunge.
- Quickly jump up and kick the leg that was behind you out in front of you.
- Land with the leg that was behind extended straight in front of you.
- Jump up again and return to the squat position.
- Repeat, alternating legs.
7. Up Down Shuffles
Whether you have a plyometric box or not, you can perform these shuffle jumps easily and effectively, toning even the finest muscles in your lower body.
- Next to a set of stairs or a series of plyometric boxes, shuffle and jump sideways onto the first item.
- Jump back off. Jump back on.
- Then, jump onto the next step or higher box. Repeat.
8. Jumping Rope
It’s so simple, but so impactful. Jumping rope is something school children do –and something adults should practice too!
- Jump rope as per usual, but raise your knees up as close to our chest as possible.
9. Tucked Jumping Jacks
Like jumping rope, performing jumping jacks may sound easy. However –try these.
- Begin doing jumping jacks as you usually would.
- When you bring your feet and arms together, jump as well, getting your knees as high as you can.
10. Box-Ups Push-Ups
Pull out that box again, this exercise is intense.
- Place both your palms on the edge of a plyometric box or step.
- With your feet extended out behind you, perform raised push-ups.
- Every time you straighten your arms, tuck your feet up and jump onto the box or step.
- Kick them back out to starting position and lower your arms to complete a push-up again.