When you keep your body active, your health, no doubt, thanks you.
Therefore, it is worth knowing the options to keep fit that you have at your fingertips. And a good alternative is the so-called plyometric exercise, which consists of performing exercises in which the extension muscles use rapid and explosive movements and gestures.
What are plyometric exercises?
“Plyometric exercises are a very interesting tool. They are based on a stretching cycle accompanied of very rapid shortening, that is, an acceleration phase. They are usually used to work the power of the lower body and are usually used with jumps. It can also be used in the upper body in very specific exercises and with a high level of training,” tells us Miguel Rojas, director of Hiitstudio.
“Strength is combined with fast and agile movements, mainly jumps and throws, which helps us improve power, speed and strength, especially in the lower body,” agrees Nerea Povedano, an expert at Entraina Virtual, who tells us that they are widely used in high-performance sports, in the rehabilitation of injuries. “It’s not suitable if you can’t make impact, although you can also do this work in the water,” she says.
The muscles apply maximum force and power in the shortest possible time. The cycles of stretching-shortening (CEA) are carried out, it is the contraction of the eccentric muscles (it lengthens) and concentric (it contracts). With this mechanism, elastic energy is generated, such as jumping with a rope, this facilitates the increase in the power of the movement.
Benefits of plyometric exercise
In the opinion of Miguel Rojas, well applied it has multiple benefits for the gain of strength and its expression in the shortest possible time (commonly called power) and it can also be a good strategy to improve coordination or in phases of stagnation in the progression of strength.
As explained by the Mabosalud experts, we can summarize its benefits in the following:
- You strengthen your muscles. One of the advantages of this type of exercise is that it helps to improve strength, both in the upper body and in the lower body. The key is that it produces a greater recruitment of muscle fibers and more muscle mass.
- Increase speed. When this type of exercise is performed, fast and powerful movements are carried out, which undoubtedly helps to improve speed. The key is that the muscles are trained to exert maximum force in the shortest possible time.
- They help prevent injuries. Plyometric exercises teach the body to better control and absorb the force of impacts. In this way, they help prevent possible injuries, since they help to strengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments in a practical way.
- They improve coordination and balance. Little by little, as we incorporate these exercises into our routine, the body will be coordinated and will be able to react to movements faster, making the body more agile and efficient. Increases the efficiency of the neuromuscular system, which manages to improve coordination and balance.
- It helps you tone up and lose weight. As we anticipated, exercises that require a lot of energy are performed, this causes calories to be burned, which helps us lose weight more easily. In addition, the body is defined and toned very quickly, obtaining short-term results.
- No material is needed. An added plus is that you do not need to invest in material. To start, we only need our own body and a little space to move.
5 recommended exercises to start a plyometric training
Drop jump. It consists of jumping to the ground from an elevated surface, cushioning the fall. You will improve the capacity to produce force.
Squat jumps. Take a small hop to lift your feet off the ground and land in a squatting position with your knees at 90 degrees. You will work the legs and buttocks, increasing their muscular power.
Tuck jumps. Jump up, raising your knees to your chest as high as you can. Finish the jump with your knees bent to break your fall. You will work both the legs and the abdomen, burning the most calories.
Clapping jumps. First you must perform normal push-ups, then push yourself up and clap your hands keeping your body in the air, finally, lean on the ground. You work the arms and chest, especially you will strengthen the upper body and you will burn many calories.
Burpees. We start standing up, then a frog jump is performed. Afterwards, the legs are straightened and a push-up is performed and returns to the frog position. And it ends with a foot jump up and clapping the arms. With this exercise you will work the entire body, both the upper body and the lower body.
Miguel Rojas explains that when there is acceleration work, advanced coordination is needed. “We recommend doing it progressively and never doing very long series or in phases in which we are very tired. Always as a complement to other training tools and guided by an activity and sports professional,” he suggests.