Thursday, February 10, 2011

Plyometrics!

The first time I ever did Plyometrics, I nearly passed out. Even now, after just over 3 weeks of working out, I still have to do some of the modified moves and take longer breaks than the P90X video. I must say, that even though this is one of the most intense workouts, it's also one of my favorites. I always feel the burn in my quads and calves, and sweat so much! After a plyometrics workout, I get sore for a couple of days, even with the recovery drink (which tastes great by the way). Even with the soreness that comes, I feel great after this workout. It has improved my performance in all aspects of my workout plan, and without it I wouldn't have gotten to where I am today physically.

Plyometrics isn't for everyone, however. It is very high impact so if you have any kind of injury to your joints, knees or shins you should probably skip out on this and do a different type of cardio workout. Personally, by the end of the plyometrics workout, my shins are a little bit sore and I need to do the modified moves to avoid injury. Over time I've gotten to the point where I can do less of the modified moves and the shin soreness doesn't set in until much later in the workout.

What exactly is Plyometrics?

Plyometric exercises are high intensity, explosive muscular contractions that are meant to increase power to let you run faster, jump higher, throw farther and hit harder. It is also known as jump training. Some of the common plyometric exercises are hops, jumps and bounding movements. Some examples are squat jumps, single leg hops, hops over cones, scissor jumps, and many others. Most of these exercises require you to jump and leave the ground completely. The higher you jump, or lower you squat, the better you will get. Since these are high impact, the most important thing is to make sure you land with your knees slightly bent. Another important tip is to land as softly as possible, which is difficult for beginners.




How to be safe while doing Plyometrics

Since this is a high intensity cardio workout, it's very easy to injure yourself.

  • A proper warm-up is important for any workout, but especially for plyometrics. Try starting with toe jogging.
  • Plyometrics is recommended for people who already are at a certain level of physical fitness. Anyone doing plyometrics should be able to complete a one repetition squat with a weight of approximately 1.5 times their body weight. In addition, an individual should also be able to stand on one leg for 30 seconds, and stand on one leg in a semi-squat position for another 30 seconds.
  • Start slowly, with lower jumps and work up to higher jumps and lower squats.
  • Get enough rest between plyometric workouts. Take extra time if needed.
  • Do not continue if you feel any pain in your shins, knees, or joints.
  • Use proper footwear with enough cushoining.
  • Make sure you are on a comfortable surface.Recommended surfaces include grass, suspended floor, and exercise mats.
  • Most importantly, know your limits. It's ok to stop if you feel like you can't go any further.
Tip of the day - Always do a proper warm-up before beginning any exercise. Your body will thank you for it :)

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