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Ever have the urge to just jump as high as you can to touch the basketball rim? Or try to grab the chin-up bar on your own because you didn’t have someone there to hoist you up? Well, you don’t need those special Jimmy shoes to improve your vertical leap (random Seinfeld reference). Plyometric movements are perfect for not only increasing you jump and power, but for optimizing your overall performance and strength.
Plyometrics, which means “to increase,” involve explosive jumping movements. These types of exercises are unique in that they work the muscle is more ways than one. They require your muscle to quickly contract (concentric muscle movement) and then quickly lengthen (eccentric muscle movement).
Training muscles in both their shortened and lengthened states conditions them to have more controlled power in reactive movements, while preventing injury at the same time. However, it is strongly recommended that only conditioned athletes and gym-goers execute this form of training. Beginners and fair-weather exercisers could experience injuries to the muscles, tendons, or even bones if performing plyometrics improperly.
So, to learn how and when to incorporate Plyometric exercise into your fitness program, check out this week’s Made Fit TV podcast. I show you the basic movement of a squat jump, while kicking it up a notch with other variations for an even bigger challenge!