I love Plyometrics. As a sprinter and as a bodybuilder! There's so many ways to incorporate them into your training. If im doing a track session I do running drill plyos and if im at the gym I do bodyweight and box plyos. I will focus on track plyos in another post for sprint specific drills and plyos. Here I am looking at the benefits of gym based plyos. This playlist demonstrates some of my favourite gym based plyos.
So what are plyometrics?
Basically they are jumping and hopping exercises that help develop speed, power, explosive strength. They are an advanced training technique.
Who should use them?
Athletes have used them for years to improve sports performance, but the general gym user and physique competitors will benefit from them too!
How do you fit them into your routine?
You could make a circuit of a few of them as a conditioning session, you could use them as a TABATA session (type of high intensity cardio) or for advanced lifters, you could include them in a superset with strength exercises like Squats, deadlifts and leg press (this is quite taxing on the central nervous system so if you do this, just do it for a few weeks then have a break from it) Plyos are often included I general circuit training and bootcamps.
How do I get started
Start with two footed exercises and a few sets with full recovery and build up volume gradually. Progress to single leg (hopping) exercises as a more advanced exercise as more stress is placed through the joints.
If you are using plyos for conditioning, take short recovery's between sets. To develop speed, power, strength and explosiveness, perform exercises fast and take full recovery between exercises so you can generate as much power as possible!
Regular plyo training in conjunction with strength, conditioning, sport specific training etc can assist sports performance, improving speed, strength and explosiveness. So they are essential for any sports where acceleration, speed and explosiveness are key! As a physique competitor I use plyos instead of cardio to maintain muscle mass on my legs, keep a great shape in quads, hamstrings and glutes and its so much more fun than endless cardio!!!! As plyos are high intensity exercise they help boost your post exercise metabolism, go great to use if trying to lose fat!
Plyometric exercises involve an increased risk of injury because large forces are generated whilst performing them. Plyos should therefore only be performed by well conditioned individuals under supervision. You should already have good levels of physical strength, flexibility, and coordination before embarking on plyometric training. Make sure you don't do plyos every day, recovery is important! Always check with a doctor & Fitness professional before starting any new exercise regime!
So that's my beginners guide to gym based plyos! Im off to the gym now and i'll be finishing my session with tabatas of a couple of my favourites! Im 3 weeks from my first comp of the year so I want to fire up my metabolism with some high intensity work!