While plyometric exercises are advanced movements, if you're in good condition, have no injuries and you're looking for a challenge, adding them to your regular workout routine can add depth and intensity to your overall program.
Preparing for Plyo
- Warm Up - Add plyo exercises after you've had a very thorough warm up so your body is ready for the exercises
- Quality Athletic Shoes - Wear good quality, shock absorbing shoes and do these exercises on a softer surface - A hardwood floor, a gym floor, track, etc. rather than on concrete
- Prepare for Impact - Plyo exercises are high impact, requiring jumping and landing with soft joints to avoid injury. Elizabeth Quinn, Sports Medicine Guide, recommends "...the athlete lands softly on the toes and rolls to the heels. By using the whole foot (and a larger surface area) for landing it helps dissipate the impact forces on the joints." You should also avoid twisting as you land, which can also cause injury. (Plyometric Exercises)
- Ease Into It - Don't forget, plyo is taxing on the joints, as well as the muscles and connective tissue. It's best to start small, trying light jumping exercises to condition your body for this type of movement and gradually adding intensity over time.
- Plan Your Workouts - If you do them right, plyo exercises are hard and take a lot out of the body. When planning your workouts for the week, schedule high intensity plyo workouts after a day of rest so your body is fresh. Keep this type of workout to about 1-2 non-consecutive days a week to give your body time to recover.
Adding Plyo to Your Workouts
There are a number of ways to incorporate plyometric training into your current routine.
- Interval Training - Interval training involves alternating a high intensity with a recovery period, a great way to try plyo in your own workouts. Start with a plyo exercise, such as Squat Jumps, repeating for 30-60 seconds. Follow this with an easy exercise, such as walking, for about 2-3 minutes and repeat.
- High Intensity Bursts - Another option is to sprinkle plyo exercises throughout your regular workout for high intensity bursts. For example, warm up for at least 10 minutes, then move into a brisk walk or jog (on a treadmill or outside) for 5 minutes. At that point, hop off and do 1 minute of plyo jacks (or another plyo exercise). Go back to your walk/jog and do it again in another 5 minutes. You can also change your intervals throughout the workout (e.g., a plyo move in 3 minutes, then 6, then 10, then back to 3, etc.).
- Short, High Intensity Workouts - Another option is to do plyo for your entire workout. Put together 10 or so plyo exercises and do each one for 10-60 seconds, resting as long as you need to between exercises to fully recover. You might want to keep this short, around 20-30 minutes to avoid overdoing it.
Those are just a few ideas and, if you need more direction, you're a good candidate for home exercise videos. The right video can teach you a variety of exercises and show you good form as well as how to get the most of the exercises. You'll find more next at Plyometric Exercise Video Resources