Makeba Edwards by Makeba Edwards
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Plyometric exercises yield tremendous benefits in strength, coordination and balance, while also increasing caloric expenditure. For these reasons, incorporating plyometrics into your clients’ programming can be a great way to complement their lower-body strength-training routines.

Because it is a ballistic, high-intensity mode of training, plyometrics are not appropriate for every client. Ask the following questions before adding plyometrics into a client’s strength routine.

  • Is the client ready for this progression?
  • Does the client exhibit the proper postural and movement mechanics?
  • Does he or she know how to land?
  • Can the client complete at least five repetitions of squats with 60 percent of his or her body weight within five seconds?

Plyometric training utilizes the anaerobic energy system, so the amount of sustainable energy available for muscular contraction is limited. When designing your programs, keep in mind work-to-rest ratio guidelines, which will help you minimize the potential of injury due to fatigue.

The intensity at which the following exercises are performed will determine the amount of rest needed for adequate recovery. Each exercise can be performed for up to 30 seconds for three sets. Depending on the intensity of the workout, recovery times might range from 30 seconds to five minutes. This will also depend on the goals and fitness level of each individual client. Although you will want to have the client complete as many repetitions as possible in the allotted time, ensure that form and quality of movement is maintained throughout the set. Always emphasize quality over quantity.

Jump Squats

Jump Squats

  • Begin with the feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart.
  • Squat down.
  • Swing the arms back.
  • Jump and simultaneously lift the torso while swinging the arms upward.
  • Land softly on both feet at the same time, mid-foot, in a squat position.

Switch Jumps

Switch Jumps

  • Begin with the feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart.
  • Squat down.
  • Jump and change direction (180 degrees).
  • Land softly on both feet at the same time, mid-foot, in a squat position.
  • Return to the starting position and continue to switch directions until the end of the set.

Plyo Skips

Plyo Skips

  • Begin with the feet hip-distance apart.
  • Drive one knee at a time, upward, propelling off the floor.
  • Gain as much height as possible with each skip.
  • Alternate knees continuously until the end of set.
  • Land softly, mid-foot, on each jump.

Straddle Box Jumps

Straddle Box Jumps

  • Begin at the top of a bench (a Reebok step bench would be ideal).
  • Jump down, straddling the bench. Land softly, mid-foot, on the floor.
  • Jump back on top of the bench.
  • Repeat until the end of the set.

 

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