Have you ever thought about how your ability to run and jump has dwindled over your years of lifting and training? I mean, you’re putting in tons of time and effort and sacrifice doing your cardio, lifting weights and watching what you eat, but still feel a little uncoordinated? Follow this plyometric workout and your ability to jump and feel comfortable in your body doing these movements will come back to you and help you enjoy a more fit and active lifestyle.
Exercise #1: Weighted Squat Jumps
We’ve seen all over social media that the new thing in the athlete world is throwing some weight that’s loaded on the bar and trying to do box jumps. Not only is this not a great idea to do – it’s a horrible one. Instead, perform these weighted squat jumps with dumbbells to help keep the stress and tension off your lower back when you land while still providing ample amounts of resistance through as heavy dumbbells as you’re able to handle.
- Begin in a athletic stance holding a set of dumbbells in each hand
- Slowly squat down to a 90 degree angle and then explode up and out of the whole by jumping as high as possible
- Land softly on your toes and head straight back into the next squat
Sets and Reps: 4 x 6
Exercise #2: Weighted Speed Lunges
Besides just being able to jump high, we also want to be able to run fast no matter what age we are. Running faster is all about leg strength and power, and performing these weighted speed lunges will get your quads, hamstrings and glutes firing quickly and efficiently to help increase overall leg speed when running. Keep the form tight on these and don’t be afraid to drop the weight way down to help you keep the movement at a quicker pace.
- Start with the barbell loaded up with about 40% of your 1-rep lunge max
- Begin in upright position and slowly drop your right leg behind you making the left leg the front of the lunge
- Once the right foot touches the ground, lunge down then explosively drive the right leg back to the front
- Repeat and alternate legs for the sets
Sets and Reps: 4 x 6-8 reps on each leg
Exercise #3: Ski Jumps
Since so much jumping has to do with overall calf strength and explosiveness, we’re going to hit some ski jumps that will make you wish you could actually be skiing. A complete burner for every single area of the calves and hips, this exercise teaches you to get off the ground quickly when landing from a jump. The same reason boxers love to jump rope is to feel weightless and lighter than air and this move is set to imitate those exact things.
- Begin with feet together and in a forward facing position
- Jump with knees straight and feet together the entire time in a “T” fashion where feet will be facing left, then middle, then right, then middle, etc.
- Be sure to jump just with the balls of your feet and using your calves not quads
Sets and Reps: 4 x 45 seconds
Exercise #4: Frog Jumps
If you’ve ever performed something called a wall-sit, you know the excruciating pain that come from these. There was a reason to your basketball coach’s madness in making you perform these – to get more powerful legs. While a great exercise, we’re going to amp it up just a little and perform jumps while in the squat position. A great leg finisher to help build strong and powerful leaping machines!
- Start by getting into squat position with toes turned out slightly and a wider stance than normal
- Staying in at least a 90 degree squat, begin by hopping (like a frog) forward for 3 jumps
- Stay in that 90 degree squat and hop backwards another 3 jumps to the starting position
Sets and Reps: 4 x 40 hop (20 front/20 back)
If you’re looking to build some more athletic power and the leg press machine just isn’t cutting it for you anymore, start thinking about incorporating plyometrics into your normal weekly routine. This will not only help torch body fat and get you into great shape; it will help with your functional fitness so you’re ready for whatever life throws your way!