It’s all too easy to slip into the same routine at the gym, week in, week out. We know the machines we like, we know what our limits are, we know what to expect from a workout, and we know what we enjoy doing.
We’re all creatures of habit, and sticking to a routine is what we do best. You can plan your workouts, plan your time in the gym, and get what you need to done.
But are you really pushing yourself? Are you trying to go that little bit harder, that bit longer, or that little bit heavier? Maybe not.
More importantly, when we do the same exercises day in and day out, our muscles get used to it; our heart adapts; we plateau. You’ll notice you see improvements up to a point, and then, you’re just maintaining a certain level of fitness.
You’re not getting better.
That’s why we recommend working in some plyometric training, if you haven’t done so already.
What is plyometrics?
In general, plyometric training can be thought of as any kind of dynamic exercise, that usually involves an explosive movement.
It’s usually high intensity and thus performed in short intervals. It’s certainly the opposite of any kind of static exercise (such as holding a fixed position). Because of its explosive nature, plyometrics usually involves some form of jumping. A squat jump is the epitome of a plyometric movement.
Plyometric sessions use speed and strength to really challenge your muscles and your heart rate. Expect to feel the burn, but know you’ll get a great workout.
Why is it so good?
As well as pushing you further, offering advanced modifications to exercises and preventing any kind of plateau from happening, plyometric training provides a host of physical benefits. You will:
- Stretch your muscles – The explosive, dynamic movements help to stretch all your muscles and develop definition
- Strengthen key fibres – By lengthening muscles, you’ll also strengthen their fibres, which means faster contractions and more power from them on a day to day basis
- Increase flexibility – With exercises to target your legs, abs, glutes and arms, you’ll find you’re pushing further than you normally do and slowly be increasing your flexibility
- Burn more calories – There’s no denying these exercises are high intensity and hard work. Quick and powerful means you’ll need more energy, which equates to more calories burnt and more fat lost
- Boost overall performance – As you’re increasing your ability on all fronts, plyometric exercises provide you with the explosive performance necessary for a lot of sports, from tennis to athletics.
How to get started
Plyometric training isn’t easy. If you don’t do it with correct form, you may well suffer injuries, so it’s important that you know what you’re doing and get advice if you’re not sure.
It’s not a workout for beginners to start with, as you’ll need some experience and some strength and flexibility in your muscles already; otherwise you will pull or strain something.
Some important tips to remember:
- ALWAYS warm up first
- Try the exercises first as their own individual workout, then work them into your usual routine
- Each rep should be completed with perfect form and maximum effort. Stop if you find yourself slipping from this
- REMEMBER TO REST. It’s just as important to take at least 10 seconds between each set
- Don’t do plyometrics every day; your muscles need time to recover
Many of our classes here at gymetc utilise the plyometric principle, especially those which focus on HIIT Training. They’re a great place to start if you need help learning what to do and want to work at your own pace with supervision.
Of course, if you’d like more help with plyometric exercises, then please feel free to speak with any of our trainers in the gym.