Exercise for weight loss doesn’t have to mean endless hours of jogging on the treadmill. While there’s a time and place for steady-state cardio, this form of low-intensity exercise will only take you so far, and there are many better ways to get a great workout, especially if you’re trying to shed fat and get lean.
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An excellent way to get fit fast is by incorporating plyometrics, also known as jumping moves. Explosive, compound movements that fire up your muscles and get your heart rate up, plyometrics can burn a huge number of calories in a relatively short amount of time and rev up your metabolism. Rather than performing your standard, static squats or lunges, get a bounce in your step and put some jumps into your routine.
Here are 5 awesome plyometric exercises to try.
1. Squat Jumps
Squat jumps are performed similarly to a regular squat, but the explosive movement at the end really ups the intensity.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, your knees slightly bent.
- Squat down by bending your knees and pushing your hips backward.
- Make sure your knees track in line with your feet, and don’t let them extend past your toes.
- From a deep squat, press into the ground, pushing up onto the balls of your feet and propel yourself into the air.
- Land lightly on the step with both feet, then step down to the ground again.
- Get back into your starting position and continue to jump.
2. Sumo Straddle Jumps
The sumo straddle jump is similar to the squat jump, but it has its own unique twist. In this exercise, you’ll use a step or bench. Land carefully and lightly. If you can hear a thump when you land, you’re probably coming down too hard. Focus on landing more lightly.
- Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart. Clasp your hands together and let them hang between your legs.
- Get down into a squat position and press your hips backward.
- From your deep squat, explode upward and land with your feet together on the platform, knees slightly bent.
- Jump back down off the platform immediately back into a deep sumo squat.
- Continue performing this movement until you’ve finished the desired number of repetitions.
Burpees are one of the most intense bodyweight exercises around. Burpees effectively combine a squat jump with a plank push-up, working your chest, your triceps, your legs, your glutes and your core. They burn a lot of calories and make a great addition to a workout for weight loss.
- To do a burpee, lower into a deep squat, then explosively jump upward, raising your arms above your head.
- Land lightly and come immediately back into a deep squat.
- Place your arms on the ground and jump your legs back into a high plank position, keeping your core tight and your movement controlled throughout.
- Lower down into a push-up, then press back up to a high plank.
- Jump your feet up meet to your hands and raise your chest to come back into a squat position.
- Jump to begin your next burpee.
4. Box Jump Squats
This one is similar to the jump squat, but you’ll propel yourself forward and upward to onto a box.
- Begin in squat stance, with your legs shoulder-width apart, and jump forward, landing dently on the step.
- Jump backwards back onto the floor, performing another squat at the end before exploding forward for a second rep.
5. Jumping Lungs
This exercise for weight loss divides and conquers, jumping back and forth onto each leg in the form of a lunge to give you a deeper, more intense workout. If you do it right, it won’t just help you to burn calories, it will help you build leg strength, improve your balance, and increase your stability.
- Start in a standing position and jump your right leg forward so that your right knee is bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Explode up and switch to lunge the left leg forward.
- Continue this pattern to see how many repetitions you can get in the allotted time.
- If you don’t feel confident on this exercise, wait until you’ve built enough strength and stability. Landing wrong could lead to injury.
In this and all other plyometric exercises for weight loss, focus on working with perfect form. While plyometrics can be very powerful, doing them improperly can lead to aches, pain and injury. Try to keep your landings light, and avoid putting undue strain on your joints.