Whether you’re a runner, rower, soccer player, or do any sport that uses your legs, plyometric training can improve your performance. Plyometrics are a series of jumping exercises to teach you how to exert maximum force in a minimum time. Athletes us plyometric training to increase their speed and explosive power.
There are several simple, easy to learn plyometrics you can start with, so anyone can add plyometrics to their workout routine. However, make sure that you’re treating these as a part of your strength training and avoid going too hard and losing your form to avoid injury. When executed correctly, plyometrics can be a great way to supplement your current routine and make bigger gains. Here are great plyometric exercises you can start with:
1. Box Jumps: One of the most common exercises in plyometric training is the box jump. The box jump is a great exercise to increase your vertical jump height as well as strengthen your quads and glutes. Here’s what to do:
- Set a box about 6 inches in front of you (start with a smaller box)
- Get into a squat position with your feet about shoulder-width apart
- Sink into a squat and explode up and on top of the box using your arms
- Land softly onto the box and carefully step down
- Rest in between reps
- To make these more challenging, you can increase the box height
- Start with 3 rounds of 8-10 jumps
2. Broad Jumps: Broad jumps are a great way to build leg strength and test explosive power. All you need is open space, so the setup is simple:
- Start in a deep squat position – legs shoulder-width apart
- Using your arms and pushing the floor away with your legs, explode forward and land softly in another squat
- Immediately explode forward into your next jump
- Start with 3-4 rounds of 3 jumps
3. Scissor Jumps: Scissor jumps are essentially jumping lunges, which are great for building single leg strength in the adductors and glutes. If these feel challenging at first, use TRX straps to help with balance, then move on to doing these without assistance.
- Get into a standard lunge position with your back straight and knees and toes forward
- Come down into a lunge and explode up switching legs mid-air
- Land softly and repeat, making sure to switch legs with each rep
- Start with 3 rounds of 8-10/side
4. Squat Jumps: If you’ve taken a team conditioning class, you’re probably already familiar with the squat jump. Squat jumps are great for strengthening your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves while getting your heart rate up. This exercise is great for building strength in weighted squat exercises as well.
- Start with feet shoulder-width apart
- Sink down into a deep squat, then explode straight up swinging arms overhead
- Land softly and repeat
- Make sure you keep your core tight and use your arms to help propel you through the jump
- Start with 3 rounds of 10 jumps
Please keep in mind the importance of maintaining good form. Plyometrics are often used as a form of cardio and it’s easy to perform these exercises with poor form when done quickly and carelessly. Make sure that you’re always landing softly and keeping your knees in line with your toes. Also, perform lower reps and take rest when needed – fully resting between sets will ensure proper form.