Men’s Health/Eric Rosati
If you’re exercising to get fit for more than just aesthetic reasons, not every one of your workouts will be focused on pumping iron to grow your muscles. You’ll need more athletic movements in your routines, too, which is where plyometrics come in handy.
Charlee Atkins C.S.C.S., programs the explosive exercises, which use your muscles’ stretch reflex to build power and hone your coordination and athleticism, to ramp up the difficulty and introduce a different skill component to her clients’ workouts.
“In plyometric training we are trying to produce maximal amount of force in a short period of time,” Atkins says. “The exercises typically involve putting quite a bit of stress on the involved muscles, joints and connective tissues, so prescription will be different for every athlete, and recovery is essential.”
You might be more familiar with the obviously explosive plyos, like box jumps or med ball throws and slams, which are used to build power for all types of athletes. But this lower subtler body jump circuit from Atkins and training partner Roxie Jones, NASM-CPT can be effective, too. The lower-impact moves will be more accessible for beginners than more dynamic plyos, and the moves still provide a ton of value for more advanced exercisers in need of a quick athletic tune-up.
Perform 100 contacts (or reps) of each exercise with little to no rest
If you’re concerned about getting enough activity in your workout, don’t worry. You can use plyos in tandem with your other parts of your fitness routine, specifically to complement opposing muscle groups if possible. “To maximize my training sessions, I like to combine these lower body plyometrics on my upper body resistance training days,” Atkins says.
Want to learn more moves from Atkins? Check out our series full of her workout tips, Try Her Move.
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