Plyometrics - Jumping Your Way to a Better Body?

plyometrics-jumpPlyometric exercises are a series of explosive moves performed in quick bursts without resting between sets. They are designed to increase your fitness level, but have the added benefits of improving agility and coordination. Lean muscle mass is built as a result of the jumping motion which ultimately leads to a sleeker figure. If your fitness goals are to:
  • build strength
  • burn calories
  • increase power
  • improve agility
  • tone lower body muscles
Then plyometrics may be the perfect addition to your training regimen. These movements are when a muscle is stretched immediately before contracting again. For example, jumping off a one foot bench, landing, then jumping right back on the bench again. Originally developed for Olympic athletes, the goal was to make them faster and fitter in a very short period of time. Plyometrics are not just for Olympic athletes anymore. They are being used for training drills for runners, cyclists, tennis players and many other athletes to increase overall athletic performance. Even soccer moms are taking up plyometrics to loose body fat, build muscle tone and have a lean lower body. PlyometricNew research indicates that plyometrics may also improve athletic performance. The seven week study at Universidad de Los Lagos in Chile involved a control group of soccer players whose training included plyometrics as part of their regimen and a control group who participated in regular practice. A series of exercises, including agility tests, explosive jumps, timed sprints, ball kicking distance and a two point four kilometer timed run were measured for all players before the testing and after the testing was conducted.Plyometric training induced significant improvement in several areas of performance of the training group while the control group showed no remarkable improvement. Perhaps one of the reasons why plyometric exercises are gaining popularity is that not a lot of equipment is required. Many of the exercises, such as seal jumping jacks, hand touches, skaters, split jumps and clock walk with hands can be performed at home with no equipment! They also require minimal space and time. Burning calories, blasting fat and building lean muscle can be done from the comfort of your home any time of the day. Plyometrics can be done as stand alone exercises or in conjunction with a regular fitness routine. Studies have shown that adding plyometrics to exercise routines can help build bone density and prevent injuries. Athletes in all sports can benefit from these fat blasting moves! Prior to embarking on a new exercise program it is wise to check with your physician to ensure you are in good physical health. While plyometric exercises are a great training tool, they are not for everyone. Those that do not have a solid strength base may risk injury. Consulting a trainer for help building strength is a good idea for those just starting exercising. Jump away body fat and build a fierce physique by adding plyometrics to your fitness routine.