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Plyometric exercises are powerful aerobic exercises used to increase your speed, endurance, and strength. They require you to exert your muscles to their maximum potential in short periods of time.

Also known as jump training, plyometric exercises are usually geared toward highly trained athletes or people in peak physical condition. However, they can also be used by people wishing to improve their fitness.

Plyometric exercises can cause stress to the tendons, ligaments, and lower-extremity joints, especially the knees and ankles. It’s important that you have the strength and fitness level necessary to do these exercises safely and effectively.

If you’re adding plyometric exercises to your workout routine, work up to them gradually. Slowly increase the duration, difficulty, and intensity of the exercises.

There are many plyometric exercises for the legs, including:

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Squat jumps

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips.
  2. Lower your body to squat down.
  3. Press up through your feet, engage your abdominals, and jump up explosively.
  4. Lift your arms overhead as you jump.
  5. Upon landing, lower yourself back down to the squatting position.
  6. Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
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Reverse lunge knee-ups

  1. Start in a standing lunge with your left foot forward.
  2. Place your right hand on the floor next to your front foot and extend your left arm straight back.
  3. Explosively jump up to bring your right knee up as high as you can, lifting your left arm and dropping your right arm back and down.
  4. Upon landing, move back into the starting lunge position.
  5. Continue for 30 seconds.
  6. Then do the opposite side.

You can also do plyometric exercises that target your upper body muscles. Here are a couple:

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Burpees

  1. From standing, bend your legs to come into a squat position.
  2. Place your hands down on the floor as you jump your feet back into a plank position, keeping your spine straight.
  3. Lower your chest to the floor for one push-up.
  4. Jump your feet forward to the outside of your hands, coming into a squat.
  5. Explosively jump up and lift your arms overhead.
  6. Do 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.
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Clapping push-ups

  1. Start in a plank position.
  2. Do a regular push-up by lowering your body down toward the floor.
  3. As you press up, push hard enough to lift your hands and body as high off the ground as possible.
  4. Clap your hands together.
  5. Return to the starting position.
  6. Continue for 30 seconds.

The following two exercises improve speed in runners by targeting the hamstrings and gluteal muscles.

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Box jumps

For this exercise, you’ll need a box or something to jump on that’s 12 to 36 inches high. To increase the intensity, you can do the exercise using one leg.

  1. From standing, squat down to jump onto the box with both feet.
  2. Lift your arms up as you jump to gain momentum.
  3. Jump up and backward off the box, gently landing with bent knees.
  4. Do 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.
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Stairway hops

  1. Start at the bottom of a staircase.
  2. Hop up the stairs on your right leg.
  3. Walk back down.
  4. Then do the opposite side.
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Tuck jumps

This exercise improves your agility, strength, and stability. It’s useful in sports training for any activity that requires you to quickly change direction.

  1. Stand with your knees slightly bent and your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend your knees and then jump up as high as you can, bringing your knees up towards your chest.
  3. Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.

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Lateral bounds

This exercise helps to increase your speed and jumping height. It’s useful for increasing power in soccer players.

  1. Start in a squat position, balancing on your right leg.
  2. Explosively jump as high and far to the left as possible.
  3. Land on your left leg in a squat position.
  4. Explosively jump as high and far to the right as possible.
  5. Land back in the starting position.
  6. Do 3 to 5 sets of 5 to 10 repetitions.

There are many benefits to doing plyometric exercises. Since they require little to no equipment, they can be done anytime, anywhere. Plyometric training increases muscle strength, which allows you to run faster, jump higher, and change direction quickly. They improve performance in any sport that involves running, jumping, or kicking.

In what’s known as the stretch-shortening cycle, concentric contractions (shortening the muscles) are followed by eccentric contractions (stretching the muscles). This provides excellent results in strengthening muscles while improving agility, stability, and balance. These combined benefits allow your muscles to work more quickly and efficiently.

Plyometrics tone the entire body, burn calories, and improve cardiovascular health. They also boost your stamina and metabolism.

In addition, plyometric exercises rapidly stretch your muscles, allowing you to move more efficiently. While this is good for increasing force, you must use caution since it can increase stress and injury. At the same time, doing plyometric exercises correctly has been shown to help prevent injury.

Make sure you have the strength, flexibility, and mobility to perform these exercises, especially in your ankles, knees, and hips. Core, lower back, and leg strength are also important. Many plyometric exercises are full-body exercises. They help tone the body by engaging lots of different muscles. Connective tissue is strengthened and you can increase resiliency and elasticity.

Plyometrics can be used by nonathletes to promote general fitness, which can help you in your daily activities. It’s important that you do the exercises properly in order to gain the benefits and prevent injury. Using correct alignment and form can help prevent strain and injury. Always do them when you’re fresh and full of energy.

Do a 10-minute warmup before doing plyometrics to loosen and warm up your body. Follow each session with a cooldown. Yin yoga may be the perfect complement to a plyometric workout since yin yoga benefits the connective tissue and joints. You may consider doing a yin yoga session on your rest days.

Use caution when adding plyometric exercises to your workout routine if you’re a beginner or have any injuries or chronic conditions. It’s best if you already have an established workout routine and are physically fit before beginning plyometric exercises. These exercises require strong ligaments and tendons since they can cause stress to the joints.

Slowly add plyometric exercises to your routine, starting with basic, lower-intensity moves before moving into more challenging movements. Gradually build up the intensity and difficulty once you’re sure your body is strong enough to handle the exercises. If you find that plyometric training is too intense, consider trying out a different method of exercise.

Talk to a personal trainer, exercise physiologist, or exercise professional if you’d like to learn more about this type of training. It may be beneficial to have at least a few one-on-one or group sessions to help you get started.

Touch base with an exercise professional at least once a month so they can make sure you’re on the right track, provide helpful feedback, and teach you new techniques. Proper form is essential in order to ensure safety.

Talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program. This is especially important if you have any medical concerns, injuries, or take any medications.

Plyometric exercises can help improve athletic performance in athletes and develop physical fitness in nonathletes. Plyometrics increase speed, power, and quickness.

The exercises use a lot of force and require a lot of strength, mobility, and flexibility. This requires you to be relatively physically fit before beginning them.

Consider working with an exercise professional when you’re starting out. This reduces the risk of injury and allows you to learn proper form and technique. While plyometric exercises can be challenging, you just may enjoy the experience as well as the results.