Plyometric exercises are high intensity training techniques used mainly to develop power. They involve high-intensity, explosive muscular contractions that invoke the stretch reflex (stretching the muscle before it contracts so that it contracts with greater force). The most common plyometric exercises include hops, jumps and bounding movements.

The good thing about this type of exercise is it burns lots of calories and it can be done without equipment, anywhere, anytime. It is a good thing to pop in your exercise mental bag as you can do it on holiday, on the beach, in the kitchen, in the park, and as an alternative to cardio work as they involve the cardiovascular system and burn Kcals.

Before I give you a couple to try, I have to do a health warning – you need to be in decent shape to do plyometrics as they are not for novices. The point of them is to do it with intensity at a good speed but at first just go slowly and get your body used to the quick movement. It is easy to injure yourself with these quick movements.

Jump Split Lunges

This plyometric exercise uses the glutes and quads thus bum toning.

To perform stand with one foot forward and other foot back with knees initially bent only slightly. Dip body down by bending legs more. Immediately jump upward. Quickly reposition legs and land with feet in opposite positions. Immediately dip body down by bending legs just short of rear knee making contact with floor. Keep torso upright and hip of rear leg straight. Repeat sequence with opposite leg movement. Continue jumps while alternating leg positions for ten reps.

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Jump Split Lunge

I will start doing videos soon of work-outs but for now I have stolen someone else’s – this link will show you someone doing a reasonably good example of a jump lunge. www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdFyA89Kp0Y

Box Jumps

You can buy a proper professional box to perform this exercise or you can use a step or anything solid but just make sure it is stable and does not move as it could lead to a horrible accident that involves you landing on your face! Start at a height which is easy enough for you to get the technique right so it can be as little as a foot. I have a garden step I use sometimes which is low but it does the job.

Stand in an athletic position, with your feet shoulder-width apart, at a comfortable distance from the box or step. When you’re ready to jump, drop quickly into a quarter squat, then extend your hips, swing your arms, and push your feet through the floor to propel yourself onto the box. Try to be light – think about the way a cat lands when it jumps -quietly and quickly. Let yourself down easily as to avoid stress on the knee and lower back.

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Box Jump

Again this is a nice exercise for the bum and thighs and it burns calories. Try to do 10 reps. You can vary this by going for a long jump if you prefer, the main point is the burst of energy involved in the jump and the contracting of the muscles.