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Plyometric Exercise Routines

by
author image Nick Ng
Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.
Plyometric Exercise Routines
Plyometric training improves your reflexes and full-body power. Photo Credit Andreas Rentz/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Plyometric training refers to your muscles' ability to contract with maximum force in the shortest time possible. This is usually performed repetitively with rhythm and coordination, which are essential in many sports and activities, such as basketball, volleyball and most martial arts. When you are familiar with different plyometric exercise, you can incorporate them into strength and endurance training methods to challenge your stamina.

Master the Basics

Before you start jumping up and down like a pogo stick, warm up your body with three lower-body movement patterns -- squat, stepup and lunge. These exercises prepare your body for plyometric training, and they work on lower-body movements that are common in most field and court sports, according to physical therapist Gray Cook. After your warmup, proceed to perform the plyometric versions of these exercises, which are the vertical jump, box jump marches and split jumps. Other lower-body plyometric exercises include the box jump, depth jump and power lunges.

Throw, Slam and Dunk

Upper-body plyometrics routines usually have you performing throws and slams repeatedly with a medicine ball or similar equipment, which you can perform with a sturdy wall or a partner. These exercises include overhead throws, chest passes, ground slams and torso twist throws. Use a medicine ball between 2 to 6 pounds if you want to work on speed and quickness. Use a ball that is 8 pounds or more if you want to work on strength and power. You can also perform power pushups as part of your upper-body plyometric routine.

Create Your Recipe

Once you're familiar with several plyometric exercises, combine them to create your own workout that challenges your full-body power and endurance. You can use the superset method in which you perform two plyometric exercises that train different body parts with minimal rest between. This allows one group to work while the other group rests. For example, perform one set of box jumps followed by a set of medicine ball chest passes. Interval training is performing a bout of high-intensity exercise followed by a longer period of lower-intensity exercise that can be the same or different exercise. You can perform 15 seconds of heavy medicine ball throws followed by 30 seconds of the same exercise with a lighter medicine ball or a different exercise. The combinations are almost endless, keeping you from doing the "same old workout" every week.

Don't Get Too Crazy

Just like a novice runner who should start with running a mile instead of running the marathon, start your plyometric training routine with a lower intensity and volume and gradually increase both variables weekly. For lower-body plyometrics, Sports Fitness Advisor recommends that beginners perform between 80 to 100 ground contacts per session. For example, two sets of 20 box jumps and two sets of 20 split jumps sum up to 80 contacts, which should be the starting point. Start with lower-intensity plyometrics, such as using a lighter medicine ball or a lower height for jumping drills. Two or three sessions of training per week is sufficient enough to improve power and skill development. The duration of your rest depends on your intensity and fitness level. A ratio of 1 to 10 is recommended for beginners. For example, if 30 seconds of split jumps are performed, rest for 300 seconds, or five minutes.

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