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What are plyometric exercises?

What are plyometric exercises

Whether you dwell in gyms or fitness forums, you’re bound to have come across plyometric exercises. In this article we debunk the myths, deliver the facts and take a look at the benefits of plyometric exercises.

So, what are plyometric exercises? To give you an idea it’s also known as ‘jump training’ meaning it’s all about bouncing, hopping and jumping. Plyometric exercises can add a little variety to your gym routine and get you away from the free weights section or the treadmill for a little while. It holds some fantastic benefits for you in relation to agility, speed, balance and strength.

How do plyometric exercises benefit us?

The jumping action in plyometric exercises trigger muscle contractions which in turn fires up something called the myotatic reflex (or the ‘stretch reflex’). The myotatic reflex is essentially a contraction that regulates skeletal muscle length and familiarises nerves with that specific contraction. For this reason, plyometric exercises are used in training for a range of sports as it can target specific muscle groups used in the sport.

How can I find the right plyometric exercise for me?

You can easily search for plyometric exercises associated with your sport of choice, but there are other styles of the exercise which can be used to work towards more general targets such as strength and speed.

Here are a few examples of some plyometric exercises you can perform in the interests of strengthening yourself:

Plyometric Push Up

You may have seen these performed before. Get down in a push-up position, lower yourself as you normally would but as you lift yourself, push against the floor hard enough for you to rise up and clap your hands before landing back down. It’s advised to complete this on a soft surface to start with to avoid any injuries.

Burpees

Burpees are considered to be one of the best ways of strengthening your core muscles. Start in a push-up position again and transfer your weight forward until you end up in a crouched position with your hands on the floor. Then jump upwards with your hands aloft before settling back down in the crouched position and starting again.  

Explore some more core exercises here.

Plyometric exercises have been found to be a very effective workout for runners. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning published a study which found that runners who took part in plyometric exercises performed better than those who didn’t in a 2400m race. Here are a few examples of those exercises:

Side Hops

This exercise targets the lower legs which contains a key group of muscles for runners. Stand up on one leg and start hopping up and down on the same spot - rather than leaping upwards make sure you are bouncing as close to the ground as you can. After about 12 reps of these, hop from side to side and forwards and backwards for the same amount of reps then alternate the leg you’re using. Try and do a few sets of these.

Box Jumps

This exercise targets the upper muscles in the legs - the hamstrings and the glutes to be precise. Bend down in a squat position in facing a box (you can find these at your local gym or purchase a sturdy one online), leap up landing with two feet on the box before jumping back down whilst bending at the knees. Again you should aim to complete 12 reps of these for a set.

So there you have it - a little knowledge on plyometric exercises and some ways you can employ it in your exercise routine! Nakd Bars are perfect fuel for your fitness journey - they’re made from completely natural ingredients and are a filling snack to accompany your workout routine or your day-to-day life.