Updated: Dec 25, 2019
Did you know that every professional coach will use plyometric training as one of his methods to get the team ready? Today, plyo box training is highly used by athletes and it’s recommended to everyone who wants to increase strength while improving mobility and overall athletic performance at the same time. So without further ado let’s see what plyometric training is good for!
What is Plyometrics Training?
Plyometrics (or plyo in short) is high-intensity interval training. Its main goal is to increase your speed and explosiveness. So let’s say you’re a basketball player or martial artist then plyo training is for you because it helps you to jump higher, sprint faster and react quicker.
Plyometrics is a form of jump training and is extremely effective when combined with HIIT. As a result, plyometric training is widely used in Crossfit and HIIT type of training.
There's even a study showing that plyometric exercise in combination with HIIT routine improves metabolic rate, increases muscle growth and helps your body to effectively burn more fat. That means, not only you're burning more calories, but you also improve your power and explosiveness. Start with incorporating at least 20% plyometrics training in your regular HIIT workout days and see the results yourself!
The Downsides of Plyometrics Training
In simple words, plyometrics is a form of jump training so you'll have to be really careful, especially if you're a beginner. Warm-ups are extremely important making sure that your body is heated-up and your joints are mobile, ready for motion. You have to gradually increase the intensity and hardness or your workouts while decreasing stress on the joints as much as possible.
A good rule of thumb is to land as quietly as possible, with a straight back and your knees facing out (never on straight legs).
What Plyometrics Equipment You'll Need?
Good thing is that you don't need extensive plyometrics equipment at home - just a simple plyometric jump box will do just fine! Plyo box training is considered to be one of the most multi-functional routines of all. Plyo box exercises include anything from jumping-up-and-down to push-ups, dips, step-ups and more. It’s hard to find the best plyo box but there are mainly 3 kinds:
Wooden plyo box is the most common plyo jump box. It’s usually well constructed and stable (just watch out from splinters);
Foam plyo box (or soft plyo box) will be much softer than wood. It decreases the risk of injury and assures soft landing in case you have sensitive joints. The soft plyo box is bigger than the wooden one so it will take a bit more space when storing;
Adjustable plyo box is more advanced plyometric jump box because you can adjust the heights, hence make it harder for yourself. Adjustable plyo boxes are highly durable as normally they're made out of steel.
Personally, I love how creative you can get with plyo box workouts. Besides, there’s always the option of adding weights to make it harder. It’s a great mix of strength and speed training in a multifunctional and affordable way. A proper plyo box workout will work your full body because it activates the major muscular areas in your body and boosts your overall fitness level. For inspiration, check out these effective plyo box exercises for intermediates. For beginners, especially female beginners, I would recommend this plyometrics routine.
How to Start Plyometrics Training?
The effect of plyometrics starts when you're stretching your muscles and then recoil (think of exercises like squat jumps or bounce push-ups). Correctly executed plyometrics can increase your strength, improve speed and most importantly prepare your joints for contact (aka prevent injuries).
Start with incorporating at least 20% plyometrics training in your regular HIIT workout days and see the results yourself.
Similarly to calisthenics, the best way to start plyometric training is by getting the basic polymetric exercises as clean as possible. Start with exercises like landing vertical jumps, bounce push-up, squat jumps, split-jumps, burpees, etc. before moving over to semi-athlete routines. You can find plenty of bodyweight polymetric routines online, however, your training quality will improve if you'll order a plyometric jump box and start looking at harder workouts. Besides, the box doesn’t take a lot of space and you only need just that box to go all-in on your plyometrics. Your aim should be to go for a bigger range of motion and increase explosiveness.
So get the basics down before moving on to advanced plyometric routines. Over time, you'll see a dramatic improvement in your mobility, and ultimately be more elastic and always ready for a quick start. I'm sure that greater mobility is not just what an athlete desires! And if you liked this article then make sure to check out the one on calisthenics. It's also non-classical gym but very effective!