7 Plyometrics Exercises That Will Give Your Cardio Routine A Serious Upgrade
Just because you’ve never heard the word “plyometrics” before doesn’t mean you haven’t already benefitted from them in your workout routine. Plyometric exercises are simply moves that require jumping, using a burst of explosive energy to crank up your heart rate and quickly build up your muscle strength at the same time. You need little-to-no equipment to perform them and they take any cardio workout to the next level — just ask your favorite boot camp instructor.
The key with plyometrics is maintaining the proper form at all times to protect your muscles and joints from potential injury. Since plyometrics are automatically high-impact, high-intensity moves, you run a greater risk of twists, strains, sprains and more. But don’t let that scare you away from the fitness gains they can bring you! Just follow this total-body plyometrics workout in order from start to finish, and you’ll be good to go. And if you’re feeling extra jumpy today, power through the workout in circuit form a total of three times.
1. Jumping Jacks
Warm up with this classic aerobics move! Jumping jacks are simple but oh-so-effective. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms down by your sides. Jump your feet out to the sides, and as you do so, bring your arms directly over your head. When you jump your feet back together, bring your arms back down to your sides. Repeat at a moderate pace for one minute to warm up, and when you repeat the circuit, pick up your pace so you can keep your heart rate up throughout your training session.
2. Toe Taps
This move is all about speed and coordination. Grab a medicine ball, dumbbell or any sturdy object you have lying around and place it on the floor in front of you. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift your left foot and rest the ball of your foot on top of the object. As you jump, quickly switch feet so that you land on your left foot and the ball of your right foot touches the top of the object. Continue jumping, speedily switching off with which foot is tapping the object in front of you, for a full minute. If you’re panting by the end of the minute, that means you did it right.
3. Ski Jumps
Time to add some lateral jumps to the mix! Start by standing with your feet together and your knees slightly bent. Jump to the right onto your right leg, bending your right knee and reaching your left foot behind you for balance as you tap your left fingers on the floor. Then immediately jump to the left on your left foot, bending your left knee and reaching your right foot behind you as you tap your right fingers on the floor. Continue with this lateral jumping movement, resembling a skier, for a full minute and feel that burn in your thighs. Phew.
4. Star Jumps
This jump squat move is all about explosive power. Start in a low squat position with your feet together and your fingertips touching the floor. With one big burst of energy, jump straight into the air, bringing your legs out to your sides at a 45-degree angle and your arms up above your head and out at a 45-degree angle so your body looks like a star. Bring your arms and legs back in toward your center as you come back to the ground, ending up in your starting low squat position. Complete as many vertical jumps as you can in one minute.
5. Jump Lunges
Time to overload those quads! Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step your right foot bank and lower into a lunge position, making sure that your left knee tracks behind your left toes and that both of your knees bend to form right angles. Now, using your lower body strength, jump straight up into the air, bring your right foot forward and your left foot back, and land in a lunge on the other side. Jump again, bringing your left foot forward and your right foot back again, landing in the original lunge. Complete as many of these intense lunges as you can in one minute.
Here we go with everyone’s favorite exercise ever. Start in a high plank position. Complete one push-up, jump your feet up toward your hands, stand, jump with your arms above your head, bring your hands back down to the floor in front of you and jump your feet back to the initial high plank position. We’ll be a little nicer here because this move is seriously tough and works the entire body. Power through as many burpees as possible in 30 seconds. (Trust us — that’s plenty.)
7. Tuck Jumps
Let’s wrap up this circuit with a move that’s essential for plyometric training. Start by standing with your feet should-width apart. Jump up with both feet at the same time, lifting your knees up as high as you can so that they come close to your chest while you’re in midair. Land carefully, making contact with the ground with your toes first and then bringing your heels down. Complete as many tuck jumps as you can in 30 seconds and then either bask in the glory of being done, or take a water break and prep for round two!
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