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A Complete Guide on Plyometric Training: What It Is and How It Can Boost Your Fitness

Plyometric training, also known as “jump training,” primarily focuses on explosive movements to develop power and speed. This form of training can improve muscle strength, endurance, and overall athletic performance. It can also add variety to your workout routines and help one reach new or more challenging fitness goals.

This guide will help you uncover more of what it is and how it can help boost your fitness.

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What is Plyometric Training?

Plyometric training involves jumps, bounces, bounds, hops, and even skips. These explosive movements are an excellent way to increase strength and even speed – if your fitness goals call for them. Plyometric exercises can be used by athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and even those recovering from injuries to help improve muscle function and overall fitness.

How Is It Different Than Other Types of Training?

Plyometric training is different from other forms of exercise, including cardio and strength training

When it comes to plyometrics vs. strength training, the difference actually doesn’t lie in the equipment used. Many plyometric movements use weight equipment, just as many strength training movements don’t use any equipment at all (other than body weight). 

The real difference between these two forms of exercises lies in the speed. Strength training focuses on slow and controlled movements to build muscle and strength. Whereas, plyometrics uses quick, explosive movements to build power and speed. 

Often, plyometric training can be used as an addition to other types of training. Think of completing a squat with dumbbells and an overhead raise. That’s strength training. Then, think of completing a squat, but when you start to raise, you push off in a quick, explosive jump while raising the dumbbells overhead. That’s incorporating plyometric training into your strength training workout. 

What Are the Benefits of Plyometric Training?

Plyometrics, like other forms of exercise, are packed full of benefits. By adding this type of jump training to your workout, you can see results like:

  • Building muscle 
  • Burning calories and fat
  • Improving speed
  • Improving power
  • Decrease in injury risk
  • Boost in stamina
  • Boost in metabolism

Who Is It Beneficial For?

While plyometrics are beneficial, incorporating this intense exercise into your workout routine may not be for everyone.

How Plyometric Training is Beneficial for Athletes

Adding a plyometric workout into a standard routine is generally great for athletes. Anyone in a team sport or a sport that requires speed or stamina will greatly benefit from this type of workout. Using jump training combined with cardio and strength training is excellent for increasing muscle power. This translates into more speed, which is often necessary for athletes.

How Plyometric Training is Beneficial for Non-Athletes

Although it’s fantastic for athletes, it can also be beneficial for non-athletes.
First and foremost, it immediately adds another layer of challenge to any workout. So, for those who have a higher fitness level and are looking to add difficulty, they can quickly achieve it with plyometric exercises.

It is also great for people who have been working out for a while and are still looking to lose weight or fat. The quick, powerful movements inherently burn more calories, which can aid in fat loss.

What Does Plyometric Training Look Like?

Plyometric training at its core looks like fast, powerful movements. When it comes to such training, you can expect a variety of exercises that will challenge your body in different ways. Some examples of common plyometric exercises include:

Examples of Plyometric Exercises for Beginners

Curious about what plyometric exercises look like for beginners? These three movements are excellent places to start:

Exercise #1: Side to Side Hops

This first exercise is one of the best moves to do as a beginner to this type of training. It’s a simple movement, so it’s perfect to try out.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Standing straight up with feet hips-width apart. 
  2. Hop side to side with both feet (as opposed to launching off of one foot and landing on the opposite). 
Exercise #2: Jump Squat

If regular squats have gotten too easy, then it may be time to add a little bit of a challenge. A jump squat may be a great way to do that. 

Here’s how to do it: 

  1. With your feet shoulder-width apart, stand with your knees bent slightly. 
  2. Assume a squat position, as you normally would. 
  3. As you come up, push off the ground and jump as high as you can. 
  4. When you land, swing your arms back to propel you into repeating the movement. 

To make this plyometric exercise more difficult, as you jump, tuck your knees into your chest. If you need to modify it, don’t worry about tucking your knees as you jump. Instead, try a smaller hop or reduce your jumping height.

Exercise #3: Frog Jumps

If you’re looking to make more of an impact in toning your glutes, hamstrings, and quads, then frog jumps are a great beginner-friendly plyometric cardio exercise to add to your workout. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. In a wide squat position, angle your feet outward just slightly. 
  2. Jump forward and land softly in a squat position. 
  3. Repeat this movement until you complete your set. 

Aim for 2 or 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions. Gradually increase to 30 repetitions. To make this movement more challenging, once you jump forward, jump backward and softly sink back into your squat position.

Examples of Plyometric Exercises for Intermediate Levels

Once you’ve been working out for a while and you’ve already tried plyometric exercises for beginners, you may be ready to increase the difficulty level. 

Try these intermediate-level exercises:

Exercise #1: Jumping Lunges

Eventually, lunges may feel a little too easy for you. Adding a plyometric element to them will make them more challenging. Just like with a regular lunge, jumping lunges will target your lower body muscle groups.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start in a normal lunge position. 
  2. Using the power of your legs, jump into the air and switch legs and arms while in the air. Don’t overthink it – it will come naturally to you as you practise. 
  3. Land softly and gently lower yourself back into a lunge position on the opposite side of how you started. 
  4. Repeat the movement.
Exercise #2: Burpees

Burpees are one of the most “dreaded” movements for people to do during their workout plans. However, they’re an excellent way to get the benefits of plyometric training. Plus, it’s a full-body movement and you’ll really get your heart rate up. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Bring your body into a squat position.
  2. From there, place your hands onto the ground and jump your feet back. Assume a plank position. 
  3. Complete a pushup.
  4. Launch your feet forward and push off the ground into a squat position.
  5. Explode up into a jump. 
  6. Softly land in your original squat position. 
  7. Repeat movement.
Exercise #3: Skater Hops

Not only do these exercises provide a great introduction to plyometric cardio, they’re also wonderful for building balance for both sides of your body. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Stand with your feet slightly closer than hip-width apart. 
  2. Bend your right knee and lift your left foot off the ground. 
  3. Use power and strength from your right leg to push yourself to the left. 
  4. Land softly on your left foot. Allow your right leg to come behind you, like a skater. 
  5. Repeat the movement with your other leg. 

Modify this exercise by shortening the distance between your jumps to each side. Start with a small, simple hop. Then gradually increase the distance.

Examples of Plyometric Exercises for Advanced Levels

And if you’re ready for an even more intense workout, then these advanced level plyometric exercises are great for your routine.

Exercise #1: Box Jumps

Box jumps involve jumping onto an elevated surface. If you’re working out at home, then that might look like a stable table that can hold weight. It could also look like a staircase (be careful not to hurt yourself). 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Stand somewhat close to the elevated surface. But give yourself enough space to complete a jump. 
  2. Swing your arms backward, then propel yourself up and forward onto the elevated surface.
  3. Land softly and move gently into a slight squat position. 
  4. Lower yourself to the ground.
  5. Repeat the movement. 

To modify this exercise, start with a lower-elevated surface. To make it more challenging, increase the jumping height.

Exercise #2: Depth Drops to Tuck Jump

You can complete this exercise in conjunction with box jumps. It involves stepping off of a box (as opposed to jumping onto it), and then going into a vertical jump. 

It’s great for targeting muscles in your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Stand on top of the box or elevated surface. 
  2. Let your right foot lead you off the box. 
  3. Land softly on the ground with knees bent. Immediately move into a squat position to help you gain momentum.
  4. Swing your arms back to help you as you use the power of your legs to launch your body into a vertical jump. 
  5. Tuck your knees to your chest. 
  6. Repeat the movement. 

To modify this exercise, you can decrease the height of the elevated surface. If you’re looking to increase the challenge, use a higher surface.

Exercise #3: Plyo Push Up

So many plyometric exercises focus on the lower body. However, you can also target the upper body with this movement:

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Assume the pushup position. Keep your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your legs straight behind you. Make sure your back stays straight. 
  2. Lower your chest until it’s almost touching the ground. 
  3. Using the muscles in your arms and shoulders, push off the ground so that your hands come off the ground. 
  4. Land gently.
  5. Repeat the movement.

If you need to modify this exercise, start with your knees bent and on the ground. If you want more of a challenge, push off the ground enough so that you’re high enough in the air to clap your hands. Then return to your starting position. 

How to Incorporate Plyometric Training Into Your Workout Routine

Finding ways to incorporate plyometric training into your workout might feel overwhelming if you’re just starting out. We’re sharing our top tips here:

Learn the Fundamentals and Forms

As you begin plyometric training, be sure to learn the fundamentals and forms. Just like with any other type of training, there’s room for error and mistakes. That can lead to injury if you’re just starting out. 
Be sure to take your time to learn the forms to reduce risk of injury. Working with a personal trainer or a professional to start with may be beneficial to make sure you won’t hurt yourself.

Add In Plyometric Exercises Gradually

Plyometric workouts are made up of intense exercises. If you’re new to this type of training, it’s best to add in the exercises gradually. This is especially the case if you’re new to working out altogether.

Combine with Other Types of Training

To see the best results, plyometric training is excellent if it’s combined with other types of training. Use it with strength training to focus on increasing power and strength. Mix it with cardio to increase speed and endurance.

Modify Your Plyometric Training Exercises When Necessary

As you’re adding plyometric exercises to your workout routine, you may find that one movement is easier than another. Always listen to your body and modify exercises when necessary. By doing so, you’ll decrease the risk of injury.

How Can a Gym Membership with Aura Help?

Finding the right plyometric movements and ways to add it to your workout routine can feel intimidating. Plus, you may find that for certain goals, you might want to focus on certain movements. 

Our trainers at Aura Leisure can help you determine your goals and find the right plyometric exercise to add to your workout routine. 

Our members get free access to two of our top programmes – Fit for Life and Lean3

  • With Fit for Life, you’ll get to work with our qualified, expert trainers. They’ll create a custom workout routine, including plyometric moves, to meet your goals. 
  • Through our Lean3 programme, you can focus on things like strength training, HIIT, and even nutrition. And yes, plyometrics can be added too! You’ll see results in 6 weeks – guaranteed. 

Try Aura Leisure for free and get full access to our gym, pool, and exercise classes!