PLYOMETRICS – What you need to know to stay safe.
Plyometrics are any exercises that involve jumping, hopping, bounding or similar explosive movement. Originally designed for athletes, plyometrics are an effective way to develop power, strength and explosiveness. Incorporating plyometrics into your exercise program can take your fitness to the next level! However, because of the impact on the joints, there are some safety considerations that must be addressed.
Benefits of plyometrics:
- Potential improvement in leg strength and power, balance, acceleration, and overall agility.
- Increased bone density – osteoblasts (the bone cells that make new bone) respond to increased stress on our bones. Weight-bearing exercise is recommended to increase bone density and prevent osteopenia (when bones are thinning) and osteoporosis (when bones actually become porous).
- Improvement in weight loss or weight control.
- Plyometrics activate and challenge your fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are not accessed by steady-pace exercise or low to moderate intensity exercises.
- Reduced risk of injury to athletes and anyone who engages in explosive movements for any reason, by strengthening the muscles that support joints from impact forces.
Do NOT do plyometrics if:
- You’re in poor physical condition
- You have known bone or joint problems
- You have any back pain whatsoever
- You do not know how to land safely and gently
*** Every plyometric exercise in the Quickie Workouts will be demonstrated with a low- or no-impact modification.
Important Safety Considerations:
- An appropriate warm-up greatly reduces your risk of injury. Be sure to do a couple minutes of gradual cardio warm-up before any exercise – but especially before plyometrics – to slowly increase your body temperature and improve blood flow and oxygen supply to the muscles.
- Start with safe and easy heights. Even small jumps will deliver great benefits.
- If you feel bad pain, STOP.
- Whenever possible, jump on a soft surface – carpet, an exercise mat (or even two!), or grass.
- Land softly, ball to heel. My cue: I should barely hear you land. No thuds, No stomps, No heavy landings.
- Your ankles, knees and hips act as shock absorbers – do not lock those joints. Allow them to absorb the impact. Conversely, do not bend into those joints TOO much either. If a landing requires a large range of joint motion, lessen your jump height.
- If jumping onto a piece of equipment (such as a bench), be sure the equipment is stable and will not move.
- Be sure your surroundings are safe. Move any objects that can interfere with range of motion and safety.
- Start small; work your way up gradually and safely to higher heights, more repetitions, and more powerful jumps.
- Always go for quality over quantity. Never proceed if you must compromise form to continue.
- Take a day of rest between intense plyometric workouts. Recovery is important for muscle tissue rebuilding.