Plyometric Exercises and Programming

There’s more to plyometrics than just jumping and bouncing around. How you implement plyometrics into a fitness program and which clients you use plyometrics with is part of the programming puzzle.

Explosive plyometric movements are a great way to improve speed, power, and function of the nervous system. In the definition alone one can see these exercises are meant for everyone, not just athletes. All of your clients would benefit from improvement in their power, reflexes and a higher functioning nervous system.

I believe that occasionally trainers underestimate their client’s physical ability for fear of hurting the client and implicating themselves in the process. This is reasonable and all of us do it from time to time. But, Plyometrics can be such a great addition to your client’s routine if applied appropriately.

Progressing them up to these moves is how you may plyometrics appropriate for everyone. Understanding the do’s and donts of plyometrics is important also.

Types of Plyometric Exercises

sneakers

– Box Jumps

– Depth Jumps

– Single Leg Hops

– Hop Scotch Ladder

– Tuck Jumps

– Skaters

These are just to name a few.

Plyometrics Programming

Now I wouldn’t suggest starting a client with an entire Plyometrics session. It would be best to have the first 10-15 minutes focusing on 2-3 different Plyo exercises and then finishing the remaining time with resistance training. Resistance training is an incredible counterpart to Plyo training. It will prepare the muscles for the rapid impact loading of the jumps and bounds.

Another great way to incorporate Plyos into your client’s session is with contrast sets. The one I am currently most fond of is the Back Squat to Squat Jump. Have your client perform 8-10 Back Squats at an 85-90% RM and then immediately perform 8-10 Squat Jumps.

This pairing will trick the body, and during the jumps, the muscle fibers will fire as if they are still supporting the resistance load. Another one is Bench Press to Plyo Pushups. You would be looking at a similar structure. 8-10 Bench Press reps in an 85-90% RM range followed by 8-10 Plyo Pushups.

Supplementing your client’s cardio routine with Plyo’s can be a good idea, but not completely replacing it. There are many health benefits found in true cardio workouts that cannot be attained through Plyometrics.

Of course, if someone has a pre-existing injury or other health condition that makes plyometrics inappropriate for them then that’s a different story. Otherwise, you don’t have to leave Plyos to the athletes. Boost your clients next session with some jumping an bouncing!

References

1) “Trainer Q&A: What are the benefits of plyometrics?”, Men’s Fitness, https://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/trainer-qa-what-are-benefits-plyometrics

2) Chimera, Nicole J. et al. “Effects of Plyometric Training on Muscle-Activation Strategies and Performance in Female Athletes.” Journal of Athletic Training 39.1 (2004): 24–31. Print.

3) “Plyometrics: The Best Combo Of Cardio And Strength Training?”, The Huffington Post, March 19, 2013,  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/19/plyometrics-fitness-cardio-exercise-strength-training_n_2900911.html

4) “Plyometrics: Using Plyometrics with Other Training”, human-kinetics, http://www.humankinetics.com/news-and-excerpts/news-and-excerpts/using-plyometrics-with-other-training

5) William P. Ebben, PhD, CSCS,*D, “Practical Guidelines for Plyometric Intensity”, NSCA’s Performance Training Journal

About the Author:

Alex has her A.S in Exercise Science and is a certified Personal Trainer with NFPT and NSCF. She recently traveled to India to gain her 200 hr yoga teacher certification where she studied the ancient practice at its origins. Alex has spent time teaching yoga in Spain while volunteering at a yoga retreat and is currently working at her local college instructing two fitness courses. Alex wants to share with her clients and students the mental, physical and emotionally healing qualities of exercise and movement. She believes everyone should have a healthy relationship with their bodies and strives to thread that concept throughout her career.