For most of us, going to the gym consists of completing one of two workouts we enjoy; we know what we’re doing, we know how our body is going to feel, and we know what results we can achieve. But, as amazing as it is to see personal bests in these workouts, you’re not challenging your body in the most effective way.
Variety is the key to success, and pushing specific muscle groups with new and exciting workouts can be the difference between seeing results and not. This is why we always encourage our members to come to one or two of our classes a week – to mix it up and keep their bodies on their toes.
More recently, we have been recommending plyometrics, and with Paul’s new classes up and running and incorporating this exciting type of exercise, we thought this would be the perfect time to create a guide to performing plyo effectively.
Let’s start with explaining what it actually is…
What is it?
Plyometrics refers to a dynamic type of exercise that is usually performed in short intervals. From squat jumps and hurdling to single leg hops and overhead medicine ball throws, if it requires an explosive movement it is classed as a plyometric exercise.
These sessions will utilise both speed and strength to push your body to the max and give your muscles an intense workout.
The Benefits of Plyo
As well as being a fun alternative to your standard daily workouts, plyo comes with a series of benefits that affect your body and fitness, including:
- Burning a lot more energy – similar to HIIT training, the quick and powerful movements required will demand a large amount of energy resource.
- Stretching and strengthening muscles – the dynamic movements mean your muscles are stretched between each rep.
- Strengthening fast-twitch fibres – this means a faster muscle contraction which translates as more power!
- Increasing flexiblity – plyometrics can be used to target your abs, legs, arms (with specific exercises) and glutes.
- Enhanced overall performance – if you’re an athlete, this is a great type of workout. No, you might not have to jump on boxes while playing a game of tennis, but you will need the quick explosion of power this movement helps to build.
Best Practice for a Plyometric Session
As with every form of workout, there is a best practice to try and stick to, to ensure the session is effective. Before performing this kind of workout, read our suggestions below:
- Always warm up efficiently – try and include toe jogging to prepare your leg muscles for the impact of the explosive motions
- Start by just completing this as an individual workout; once you have more experience you can incorporate it into other sessions
- To see the best results you need to be applying maximum effort, speed and strength in each rep
- Rest is just as important as the exercise – we recommend between 5-10 seconds between each set, however please speak to one of our team for more specific recommendations
- If you’re just beginning, try completing between 80-100 reps each plyo session
- It’s important to remember you won’t be able to do this type of workout every day – give your muscles a couple of days to recover, especially if you’re new to this style
A great place to get an introduction to plyometric exercises is to come and down and try Paul’s Xpro Challenge, or Plyo & Weights classes. You’ll be jumping and darting all over the place, but you’ll feel the results almost instantly!
If you still feel like you are unsure about introducing plyometrics to your exercise routine, please speak to Paul, or one of our trainers here at the gym.