Plyometrics are a very underrated and often undertrained aspect of physical fitness. Plyos provide many benefits to our physical health and should be part of a well-created exercise program. Plyos can be pretty intimidating because they involve jumping, which is something some individuals may feel nervous and uncomfortable about. The good news is that all plyometrics can be scaled and adjusted to meet you where you’re at! Every single person can benefit from adding these into their routine and your coach at Paragon will help you implement them safely and effectively.
What is a plyometric?
A plyometric is an exercise involving repeated rapid stretching and contracting of muscles, which is achieved by jumping or rebounding. However, not all jumping can be considered plyometric! There needs to be a landing phase, followed by a takeoff, and then another landing in order to get the repeated rapid stretching and contracting we are looking for. A common jumping exercise like a box jump would not necessarily give us the benefits we are looking for in this training scenario, although box jumps are still a great exercise to have in our program.
Why are plyometrics important?
Plyometrics are not only important for just increasing our athletic performance, but also are very important for overall tendon and joint health + maintaining/improving bone density. This is key for improving quality of life as we age! Luckily, they are very easy to learn and are scalable to all levels.
Our favorite 3 plyos could be categorized into pogos, bounds and hops.
Pogos are jumps with a two-foot takeoff and landing. They can be done at a low intensity or high intensity. Basically, the higher we jump the more intense they become and more impact we take. These are the most bang for your buck plyometric that should be the most common in your plyo training.
Bounds are jumps with a single leg takeoff into an opposite leg landing. So, taking off on our right leg and landing on our left. Just like the pogos, these can be scaled from a lower intensity to higher by jumping for more distance as well as increasing speed.
Lastly, we have hops, which are single leg takeoffs into the same leg landing, so jumping from our right leg and landing on it as well. While these are also very scalable, they are definitely more intense than the prior two. When done at a high intensity (going fast and for distance), we can get our leg absorbing forces up to 8x bodyweight. These are best done intermittently, maybe once per week, and often will not be done at such a high intensity for the general population.
Next time you exercise try adding some of these in for a few sets at the start of your workout and see how they feel. Start light and slowly progress to sprinkling in bouts of more intense plyos into your training. If you work out at Paragon then you are most likely familiar with these already.