Plyometrics can increase your strength
August 6, 2012
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Everything today is done in a hurry. You hear words like "promised," "get instant results" and "guarantee to work." It's tough living up to these unrealistic promises, and most items don't produce the results they claimed to deliver.
Many fitness industries experiment with products and programs that will give us what we have been screaming for: to look great without making an effort. Normally, that promise is too good to be true, but a style of exercise has surfaced in the fitness industry delivers. It requires effort, but it can be done.
One constant goal for me is to learn what works, and spread that knowledge to others. My mission is always to spread the gift of health. If you want to get into the best shape of your life, you need to try Plyometrics.
Also known as "Jump Training," Plyometrics is a training style designed to increase muscle power and explosiveness. That means it is not about building larger muscles, but making your muscles more aerobically active.
Because of this, muscles become lean and more explosive with speed. That creates the "ripped" appearance on the body that we see on people who show their "after" photos for Insanity and P90X.
Plyometrics is an old idea, one that has resurfaced as a force to be reckoned with within the general workout population. Plyometric training has long been a staple for athletes to work on their explosive strength.
Today, many people are excited about this style of exercise because it gets their bodies into the best shape with little to no equipment. I have always been a fan of using less equipment, and using more of your own body as a resistance weight.
Plyometrics conditions the body with dynamic resistance exercises that rapidly stretch a muscle and then rapidly shorten it. For example, when we jump, we make the muscles in our thighs longer. When we land and "stick" the move, we abruptly shorten (contract) the muscle due to the pause or hold. With each continuation of jumping up and landing, we not only build strength, but power and active muscle tissue.
Plyometrics is a great way to add variety to a stale workout regimen. Because it is new for your body, you will work harder, meaning you can yield greater results than from your traditional routine. Some things you can expect from adding Plyometrics to your regular workout include:
- Increased joint stability (your bones become stronger)
- More power in your lower body (all that jumping and landing pays off)
- Strength goes up (we love that)
- Burns more calories during your workout (remember, you are working harder, faster and with more muscle power)
The power is the explosive conditioning that is produced from Ploymetric training. Your muscles become faster in reacting to the style of exercise you are doing. This means what you achieve from Plyometric training will benefit other workouts, as well. Sprinters are fast, but they earned their speed from doing exercises that require their muscles to react with force. Their muscles not only become stronger, but quicker to react. They do this with exercises that require them to leap off the ground, and land a distance away.
Your end results are the ability to perform quicker, with more control and in less time. This power displays your perfected technique and shows up on your physique. It is the repetitive movement that increases your stretch, which makes you faster and stronger. Think of something you stretch and pull back in quickly like a paddle ball.
So, if you are ready to give Plyometrics training a try, here are some guidelines that you should consider:
- This type of training is aggressive so if you are limited in your bone and joint health, you may want to modify your movements.
- You do not have to jump as high as the next person to get results. It is the doing of jump and land that creates results (not how high).
- You should also look for a class that offers Plyometric training; this way instead of investing in the popular DVD you have a live instructor who can modify the moves to fit your age, and bone/joint ability.
- Do not practice on too hard of a surface. The impact could result in injuries to your joints.
Some are intimidated by Plyometrics and think they exhausting, or even scary. I can understand the perception, especially with all the yelling and screaming and sweating you see in the videos. If you select three Plyometric exercises and incorporate them in your current routine, you can utilize them as an interval session.
Do the exercise and recover for about 30 to 60 seconds then go to the next. This way, you build stamina, add variety and burn calories more efficiently. If you take this approach to adding Plyometric training to your workout, you will eventually have created a total workout.
Something different should be embraced, not avoided. Exercise growth cannot happen if we arrive consistently to the gym, but live on the treadmill.