Monday, September 28, 2009

Plyometrics Workout

I am a huge believer in adding plyometrics to your workouts. In my running training we did a ton of plyotmetrics. It not only made us faster and fitter, it made us as lean as they come, stripping any fat left off our bodies.
Plyometrics involves short periods of explosive type exercise that really get your heart rate up and make you breathless before you know it.
This is a great supplement to your regimen, and I recommend anyone who has hit a rut or plateau in their workouts to try them.
Below is an example of a mini-workout you can try.
The benefit of plyometrics is that they can be done anywhere anytime with no equipment needed!

1) One-Leg Split Squats with Lateral Hops:

One leg squats are an intensely challenging exercise... You can progress with these by incorporating lateral hops on each leg. To do these, stand with one leg forward and one leg back. As you lower the front leg to the point where these is about a 90 degree bend in your front leg, explode UP and hop laterally about 10-12 inches, hop back to center, and then immediately hop to the other side about the same distance of 10-12 inches, before coming back to the center one last time. Maintain good upright posture at all times and keep the back leg in position. Explode upward and to the side and really feel the enhanced SPRING in this action!

2) One-Leg Hopping:

Integrated into your run workouts or as part of a workout session, these rapid “hops” (done in place or while you’re moving gradually forward) can get challenging! Begin with one foot up and the other in contact with the ground, with support right over your mid-foot. Begin hopping on one foot as fast as you can, as though your feet are in contact with a hot stove or hot coals! Your hips should remain nearly motionless and NOT move up or down. The action is at your feet! After hopping for 30 seconds on one leg, switch to the other side. Begin with 1 or 2 sets of 30-seconds on each side, and progress up to as much as 3-5 sets of 1-minute or more.

If the technical explanation was confusing just thinking of hopping or bounding on each foot like you did when you were a kid.

3) Skipping! (with rope or without)

Occasionally integrate 2-3 sets of 20 to 30 seconds of skipping into your workout. Try to keep ground contact time as short as possible and explode forward, bounding farther and farther with each stride. Start with short segments until your body has time to adapt and build both duration and sets over time. Have fun with it!

4) Burpees:

Jump straight up vertically with your arms reaching for the sky, then immediately jump down and shoot your legs back to push-up position and back in to squat. Repeat this by jumping straight up vertically again. It is like a vertical jump followed by pushup position (except you jump your legs back when your hands hit the ground).
Try two sets of 5 in the beginning and work up to sets of 10.
This one is a maximum calorie burning move and really spikes that heartrate.

To summarize, I like to integrate these explosive segments right into my workouts or runs. Mix it up, challenge yourself, and have fun! When you do these, as well as many other similar exercises, you’ll soon discover that they can tire you out quickly, and that as you fatigue, it becomes harder and harder to get your feet UP off the ground quickly!

As always, you should use caution and start conservatively as you implement these drills into your routine. They are challenging and will result in some soreness if you’re doing them for the first time. But I promise results will be plentiful!

Have fun with them.


  1. when during your workout should you incorporate plyometrics? before, during, or after cardio, or on a different day? thanks!

  2. Hi Nina,

    That's a great question. Plyometrics vary in length and intensity. I would suggest doing some plyometrics at the end of every other workout. For example, the ones I listed above are great after a run. It takes an easy workout and intensifies it, blasting more calories than in almost any other type of workout, as well as making you a strong, fitter, faster person.

    Once you get more and more comfortable with plyos, you can actually substitute one workout day with an entire plyometric workout (talk about getting results)! I will continue to post more, so you can keep adding new and different ones to your workout.
    Right now, I would say to add a few plyometric drills to the end of every other workout. Let me know how it goes!

    Variety is key, you want to keep 'shocking' your body. If you get used to doing the same workout over and over, you become too efficient at it and stop producing results.

    I hope this helps!!