Plyometric Power, an Easy, Quick Workout

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Jump, skip, and hop are all forms of plyometric movements incorporated more and more in exercise programs but WHY? Plyometric movements typically involve lengthening of the muscle, eccentric muscle contraction, followed by quick shortening of a muscle, concentric contraction. They help to develop power and agility, while providing a great cardio push. Due to this, they are incorporated into a lot of strength routines, especially HITT (high intensity interval training) and multiple sports programs, like running, soccer, football, etc. Moving faster, increasing the range of motion, and increasing resistance are some ways to progress a plyometric exercise. The challenge often lies with how to regress or even how to start to incorporate “gentle” plyometric exercises without injuring oneself.

The Total Gym provides a great medium for the beginner to advanced participant to infuse plyometrics into one’s routine. Below is a full body plyometric routine. The exercises are broken down to provide more information on how to perform, progress and modify them. At the end, there is a suggested workout broken down into circuits.  Since plyometrics are intense, recovery is important. These exercises can be performed as a plyometric routine in and of itself or some of these exercises may be infused into your current strength routine. Perform 1-2 times a week allowing at least 24-48 hours in between workouts. To begin, start with 20 seconds of active work and 20-40s of second recovery. Progress to 45-60 seconds of active work and 10-30 seconds of recovery. If you are new to plyometrics follow the regression/modification column and focus on your form. Do one set and see how you feel over the next 24 hours. If you felt good, then incorporate more sets into your routine or repeat the flow 1-2 more times.

Exercise

Movement and Cue

Progression

Regression/Modification

Plyometric Squat

Focus on pressing through your entire foot.

Ensure the knees are not diving inward.

Core is engaged throughout the movement.

Pull shoulders away from the ears.

Squat lower.

Reach arms overhead or alternating arm reaches while jumping up.

Modify the depth of your squat.

Squat then upon rising lift your heels up.

Reach the arms up or alternating arm reaches while just lifting the heels. 

Plyometric Single Leg Squat

Focus on pressing through your entire foot.

Ensure the knees are not diving inward.

Core is engaged throughout the movement.

Pull shoulders away from the ears.

Squat lower.

Reach arms overhead or alternating arm reaches while jumping up.

Infuse movement of the unsupportive leg, like bicycling the leg.

Modify the depth of your squat.

Squat then upon rising lift your heels up.

Reach the arms up or alternating arm reaches while lifting the heels up.

Place the unsupportive leg on the glideboard or into your chest.

Plyometric Alternating Squats with Core Focus

Setting the glideboard to the lower one third end of the tower.

Increase the range of motion.

Vary the arm movements with reaching the arms up overhead.

Lifting the head up can make this movement harder or easier.

Alternate heel lifts

Slow down the movement.

Keep the range of movement small.

Lifting the head up can make this movement harder or easier.

Sprinter’s Plyometric Push off

You can be on your elbows or hands. If on your hands avoid, locking out the elbows.

Maintain one knee on the glideboard always.

Focus on tightening the buttocks.

Keep shoulders away from the ears and core engaged.

Add a knee into the chest while the glideboard is moving toward the tower, quick enough to return the foot to the squat stand.

Maintain the foot on the squat stand.

Plyometric Pull Ups

Focus on pulling shoulders away from the ears.

Keep the top of the heard reaching toward the tower.

Keep the core and lower body also engaged.

Increased the tempo.

Add a clap or additional movement like reaching the arms forward prior to the glideboard returning to the base.

Slow down the tempo.

Decrease the range of motion.

Burpee

Avoid locking out the elbows.

Keep the shoulders pulling away from the ears.

Keep the core engaged throughout the movement.

Facing the tower, the lower the incline the harder the exercise.

Facing the tower, the higher the incline the easier the exercise.

Plyometric Unilateral Pull Ups

Focus on pulling shoulders away from the ears.

Keep the top of the heard reaching toward the tower.

Keep the core and lower body also engaged.

Increased the tempo.

Add a movement in with the free arm.

Slow down the tempo.

Decrease the range of motion.

Side lunge with Plyometric Jump

Maintain the knee facing forward, i.e. avoid the knee moving inward or outward.

Land softly.

Keep the shoulders pulling away from the ears and the core engaged.

Focus on bending from the knee and pushing the buttocks backward to avoid the knee pressing over the toes.

The leg on the glideboard will come into the chest while jumping.

Lunge to the side and bring the leg on the glideboard onto the ground, progress to bringing the knee in toward the chest.

The foot on the ground can lift onto the ball of the foot when returning the glideboard to the base, and progress to a small jump with the foot on the glideboard on staying on the glideboard.

Backward Lunge with Plyometric Jump

Maintain the knee facing forward, i.e. avoid the knee moving inward or outward.

Land softly.

Keep the shoulders pulling away from the ears and the core engaged.

Bring the back knee into the chest while jumping.

Lunge back and bring the back leg (the one on the glideboard) onto the ground, progress to bringing the knee in toward the chest.

The foot on the ground can lift onto the ball of the foot when returning the glideboard to the base, and progress to a small jump with the foot on the glideboard on staying on the glideboard.

Plyometric Overhead Press

Focus on pulling shoulders away from the ears.

Keep the core and lower body also engaged.

Land softly.

Add a reach an additional hand movement like a clap while the glideboard is moving up the rails.

Focus on pressing the glideboard up the rails quickly then slowly lower oneself down.

Decrease the range of motion of the overhead press.

Russian Hamstring

Curl

Keep the core and buttocks tight.

Pull the shoulders away from the ears.

Avoid bending at the hips. Imagine your trunk and thighs as one straight line.

Full range of motion.

Use your hands to return to upright and “catch yourself” earlier in the movement.

Unilateral Plyometric Overhead Press

Focus on pulling shoulders away from the ears.

Keep the core and lower body also engaged.

Land softly.

Unilateral Movement may be harder than alternating with respect for endurance.

Press up with two hands and focus on lowering with one hand. Progress to pressing two hands up and one hand down.

Suggested Workout:

Circuit 1

  • Squat (recovery exercise)
  • Plyometric Squat
  • Squat
  • Alternating Unilateral Squats
  • Squat Recovery
  • Plyometric One-Legged Squats
  • Squat Recovery
  • Plyometric Squat – Core Focus
  • Squat Recovery
  • Plyometric Sprinters Lunge- on your forearms or hands

Circuit 2

  • Plyometric Pull Ups
  • Burpees
  • Alternating or Unilateral Pull Ups
  • Burpees
  • Side Lunge with Plyometric Jump
  • Backward Lunge with Plyometric Jump

*Add a third set if you desire with burpees and plyometric pull ups*

Circuit 3

  • Plyometric Overhead Press
  • Russian Hamstring Curl
  • Alternating Unilateral or Alternating Plyometric Overhead Press
  • Russian Hamstring Curl

*Add a third set if you desire of Russian Hamstring Curl and Unilateral or Alternating Plyometric Overhead Press.*

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