Add Plyos Into Your Training Routine
Plyometric exercises are used to develop speed, power, strength, balance and agility using explosive/fast movements. It is similar to speed/interval training in running while this is interval training for strength.
Plyometric exercises are high intensity workouts and should be done only if you have followed all the basic strength training for a minimum of 6 weeks or more.
A proper warm up is needed. After a 15-20 minutes easy or medium intensity run, it will be a good time to do your plyos.
Plyometrics involves a lot of jumps and extra care should be taken when landing for joint protection. It can bring your heart rate up quite high so do just as many repetitions as your body can take, it could be as little as 5 repetitions.
TIP OF THE MONTH
After a very hard, long run or race, your body’s immune system will be weak, so stay away from anyone sick. The best is to hydrate well, rest or even catch a short nap.
Take Proper Caution
Plyometrics should be avoided if you are new to strength training, have any heart or joint complication, or have any prior joint injuries. If you are not sure of the exercises or your capability, start at low intensity.
How to Start
Start after a good 15-20 minutes of warm up/running. You may stretch before plyometrics. Start with low jumps and few repetitions and see how your body adapts.
- Intensity: Always use the RPE scale (rate of perceived exertion) from 1-10, one being easiest and 10 being the hardest. Keep at medium intensity of about 5 and build it up to 8/9. It is quite easy for the intensity to go very high on these exercises.
- Frequency: Once a week will be good enough. Unless you have a lot of time in hand, you may add another session. A good rest and recovery after is needed especially if you are going all out.
- Caution: Stay away from plyometrics a week before key races/runs so that your muscles are not sore and fresh for the race. Focus on stretching instead.
Standing at shoulder width apart in a squat position, jump as high as you can and when you land, make sure not to lock your knees. Land soft and go back to squat position. You may swing your arms up to get a thrust upwards. While jumping, make sure your core is activated. Breathe out while jumping.
This requires a lot of balance, so try your best to jump using both the front and rear feet at the same time. From lunge position, jump and switch legs to front and rear positions with care, especially when landing into the same position again. Core should be activated at all times, while breathing out when jumping.
This is similar to jumping squats but you jump up to a box. You may use stairs as an alternative too. Try not to be overzealous on jumping on a high ground. Start from a lower height. From a squat position, jump up using hands for momentum and finish it with stepping down.
Getting ready in a push up position, with a straight back, lift one knee up to your stomach and alternate slowly. Once you get the hang of it, speed up and imagine you are running. Try not to hunch or drop your neck too much. Always keep your core strong and activated.
FACT OF THE MONTH
Executing 100 or more abdominal exercises everyday will NOT flatten your belly. You may have your 6 packs BUT covered by the belly fat. You would need to lose your overall fat in order to make your 6 packs visible. That will require exercise and proper nutrition.
This is one of the most disliked exercises but has many advantages. Start with jumping up as high as you can with a controlled and soft landing, followed by lowering into a squat position with your hands flat on the floor. Kick legs backwards to a push up position, then back up with both feet forward, putting you in the squat position again, then straight to a jump up.
Plyometric Push Up
You need to be strong and, with a good technique and momentum, you should be able to do this. From a lowered push up position, use force and momentum to push yourself away from the floor. Extreme care should be taken when landing so as NOT to lock your elbows. You may first start on a higher ground to make it easier.
While it may seem simple, it can bring your heart rate up. It’s similar to running on the spot. Start with lifting one leg up and touching your hand that’s reached out at 90 degrees, then lower it and alternate with the other leg. Slowly pick up the pace and start running while your knees/thighs are touching your hand.
Single Arm Single Leg Plank
If you do your plank for a few minutes and start to get bored, you can do this advanced plank technique that I use for my Ultraman training. With your right arm crossed in front for balance and left foot on the floor, keep your back straight while activating your core. Balance is required for this exercise. Hold for 20-30 seconds and switch arms and legs for the same amount of time.
Founder of Mission Fit
Kannan Murugasan is a Personal Fitness Trainer with 16 years of experience and has accomplished 10 Ironman and 2 Ultraman Canada.