Burpees, jump squats, traveling jump squats (a.k.a. “leap frogs”), even jumping rope—these moves are examples of plyometrics and have been around the fitness industry for decades.
Plyometrics work by creating a buildup of elastic energy followed by an explosive movement that releases that energy. Scientists and athletes have been studying and using this technique to increase power, strength, speed, flexibility, and stamina for generations. This new buzz in the industry is really not new at all, but it can help you sculpt and tone like never before!
There are so many benefits of plyometrics. Research shows that intervals of plyometrics and strength training or plyo/cardio intervals increase GH (growth hormone) up to ten times its resting state amount. GH is a primary fat-burning, muscle-toning, bone-strengthening hormone. Some studies show that, if you have knee injuries, plyo moves can strengthen the connective tissue in joints. (Check with your doctor first.)
I have been training my advanced clients with plyo intervals for quite some time now with awesome results! All you need is 15-60 seconds at a time of plyo to feel the burn. Repeat every 2-4 minutes. To modify for beginners, only do 5-15 seconds at a time.
Squat Followed by Jump Squat
To firm and tone the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and entire core, stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. For even more gluteal activation, do a wide-leg squat by increasing the distance between your feet by 2-4 additional inches. Do about 1-2 minutes of squats. To do them properly, keep these tips in mind:
- Don’t lock your knees on the upward movement.
- Keep your hand on your thighs but away from your patella (kneecap) to protect your back.
- Hinge forward from the hips.
- Don’t let your knees pass your toes.
- Your buttocks and back of the leg (hamsting area) should protrude out behind you.
To add a plyometric option to this exercise, follow with 5-15 jump squats with perfect form. If you are up for the challenge, do a full 30-60 seconds of jump squats.
As always, don’t risk injury. If you feel pain anywhere other than your larger muscle groups of the lower body, then stop. Ask one of our certified Personal Trainers if you are doing the moves correctly. If it still hurts, then these moves are not for you.