What is Plyometric Training: 7 Exercises for Building Power

What is Plyometric Training: 7 Exercises for Building Power

Plyometric training, also referred to as jump training, focuses on movements that force the muscle to stretch and quickly contract, producing a powerful and forceful movement in one direction.

Plyo exercises are usually based on your bodyweight such as jump squats and explosive push-ups.

The focus of plyometrics is to increase force production, power output, and muscular strength. As a result, you will see improvements in other areas of your physical fitness and performance including speed and agility.

 

Plyometric Training Benefits

Since plyometric training is often incorporated into training for athletes, many people assume that these workouts are only for athletes. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Plyometric exercise can provide a number of benefits to all people, regardless of fitness experience and goals.

 

More Power

Plyometric exercise require the muscle to perform a controlled stretch immediately followed by a rapid and forceful contraction of the muscle.

This type of movement predominately taps into the fast-twitch muscle fibers. As a result, you’re able to produce more power at a faster rate, especially if you are combining plyometric training with traditional strength training. [1]

 

Better Movement Efficiency

Plyo demands a lot from your entire body. In order to perform these fast-paced and force-based exercises, your neuromuscular system needs to be at the top of its game.

So, it’s no wonder that not long after starting a plyometric training program, people tend to notice greater movement efficiency and a better sense of comfort at being in their own bodies.

 

Translates Into Other Training and Sports

As I mentioned above, the power, strength, and functional movement benefits you’ll receive from plyometric training easily translate into other areas of your fitness training and sports.

 

Improved Cardiovascular Health

It’s no surprise that plyometric exercises are considered high intensity, relying on both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems.

And while many people perform them for the benefits of increased power and strength, plyometric exercises also improve cardiovascular health, especially your VO2 max – how much oxygen your body can effectively use during exercise – and your overall endurance-based performance. [2]

 

Plyometric Exercises for Power

Here are the best plyometric exercises that will help you increase your power output.

These movements are especially useful if you’re involved in sports. When you use these exercises consistently and as a part of a total training program, you’ll notice improvements in things like your vertical jump, sprint, and forward pushing motions.

Box Jumps

A CrossFit favorite, box jumps produce serious leg power, requiring your entire lower body to perform the movement properly. You’ll also need your upper body in order to produce momentum in whatever direction you’re jumping.

Squat Jumps

Similar to box jumps but without the need to launch yourself forward or to the side. The squat jump is a great way to improve your vertical jump.

Wall Balls

Another CrossFit favorite, the wall ball exercise requires you to hold a medicine ball.

If you’re familiar with CrossFit, you’ll know that men hold a 20-pound medicine ball and women hold a 14-pound medicine ball.

Once you’re in a strong stance, you squat down, then come up fast, launching the medicine ball at a target above your head.

As the ball comes back down and you catch it, you immediately go into your next squat. A great way to build stronger and leaner legs, not to mention some serious upper body pushing power.

Medicine Ball Slams

The name says it all. This upper body-focused exercise is used to build quick and raw power. You’ll hold a medicine ball in both hands, taking it above your head, and slamming it into the ground.

When done properly, the ball will bounce right back in your direction, making it easy to snatch up and slam again.

Burpees

This is a full-body exercise that transitions you from a push-up to a straight jump back to a push-up. Easily one of the most intense plyometric exercises, the burpee is a great way to burn calories and improve your endurance.

Lateral Jumps

Most people don’t think twice about training their body using lateral movements. After all, we walk forward, not side to side. But without lateral training, you increase the risk for muscle overcompensation when one muscle group picks up the slack of a weaker muscle group.

There are a few ways to perform lateral jumps, depending on the depth of the jump, but in general, you’ll forcefully push off the ground and land with both feet. You’ll repeat this side-to-side movement for the recommended number of repetitions.

Explosive Push-ups

Finally, we have explosive push-ups – everyone’s favorite way to show off their level of fitness.

Just like the name suggests, the explosive push-up requires you to lower yourself to the ground then immediately push off with all your strength to have your upper body become airborne.

There is also an advanced version of this exercise where your entire body goes airborne.

 

Plyometric Workout

Try incorporating this workout into your current training schedule. It works great in place of a traditional cardio day.

This plyometric workout will be in the format of a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout. You’ll perform all of the recommended repetitions for the first exercise before moving on to the next exercise.

Do not take a break in between exercises. Once you complete all of the repetitions for all exercises, then you can take a three-minute break before starting from the top.

I’ve included two different repetitions for each exercise. The first number is for beginners, the second number is for those who are more experienced with these exercises.

Repeat this list two to five times.

  • Box Jumps: 5 / 10
  • Squat Jumps: 5 / 10
  • Wall Balls: 5 / 10
  • Medicine Ball Slams: 5 / 10
  • Burpees: 5 / 10
  • Lateral Jumps: 5 / 10
  • Explosive Pushups: 5 / 10

References

  1. Slimani M, Chamari K, Miarka B, Del Vecchio FB, Chéour F. Effects of Plyometric Training on Physical Fitness in Team Sport Athletes: A Systematic Review. J Hum Kinet. 2016;53:231-247. Published 2016 Oct 14. doi:10.1515/hukin-2016-0026.
  2. Ramadan, Wael & Elsayed, Ahmed. (2017). The combined influence of plyometric and explosive speed training on vo2max and running economy. International Journal of Sport Science and Arts (IJSSA). 2017.