Plyometric Training Exercises
Plyometric training exercises are an alternative way of working out the muscles in your upper and lower body without the use of heavy weights. Plyometrics use intense and explosive exercises that focus on certain muscle groups. Upper-body plyometrics strengthen the muscles used in activities such as throwing, swinging, punching and grasping. Lower-body plyometric exercises help the muscle groups that are responsible for running, jumping, kicking and dexterity. Work with a certified trainer to safely introduce plyometrics into your exercise routine.
The squat jump is an explosive exercise for the leg muscles that can help increase your dexterity and jumping abilities. Start out by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your upper body should be slightly bent forward, as if you were getting ready to jump off a diving board. With your arms bent in a 90-degree angle, lower your body at the knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Immediately explode upward by throwing your arms upward and jump straight up off the floor. Make the motion quick. Do not stay in the squatted position for any length of time. The exercise should be explosive and repeated several times. Land on both feet. Rest a few seconds. And then lower and explode upward again.
For the overhead throw, you will need an exercise ball or medicine ball and a wall you can throw it against. Stand about six to 10 feet away from a wall with the ball above your head. Your legs should be staggered, one in front of the other and slightly bent. Pull the ball behind your head and then forcefully throw the ball against the wall. Catch the ball on a bounce and repeat the exercise. The motions should be fluid and explosive. Do not hold any of the positions. You will want to make sure you adjust your distance from the wall based on the space you have and how hard you can throw the ball. Beginners should use a light exercise ball. But more advanced, stronger athletes can use a heavier medicine ball. You may also perform this exercise with a partner instead of a wall.
Slalom jumps are a lower-body exercise designed to improve your jumping ability as well as quickness and dexterity with your foot movement. You will need ample space for this exercise and some sort of line as a marker on the floor. You can draw one, create one with a jump rope or use the crack between two exercise mats. Stand on one side of the line and, while keeping your feet together, jump sideways over the line to the other side. Immediately jump back across again and continue jumping back and forth over the line several times quickly. Perform several repetitions without stopping. You will find that the exercise is not as easy as it seems, so you will probably only be able to do four or five jumps at a time. Be sure to focus on exploding with your leg muscles on each jump.
Plyometric push-ups are similar to regular push-ups and are a great workout for your upper-body muscles and your core strength. Start out in a typical push-up position. Lower yourself to the ground and instead of pushing up slowly, explode upward by pushing off the floor so forcefully that your arms and upper body leave the ground by a few inches. Catch yourself on your palms as you come back down and lower yourself into a standard push-up position again. Continue the exercise several times in a row in a fluid motion without pausing. Rest between sets.
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