The clocks have jumped ahead and the spring season has almost sprung. With the Easter bunny next to hop on in, it’s pretty hard to dismiss some obvious symbolism that could inspire your next workout. Ready to take your fitness to new heights? Fun fat loss is just a hop, skip, and jump away…literally.
Spring into Plyometrics
Exercises involving jumping, bounding, hopping, bouncing, leaping, skipping, and the like can be summed up with one word: plyometrics, or “plyo” for short. This genre of exercises combines the stretching and contraction of muscles through explosive movements using just your bodyweight or very low added weight loads. Professional athletes rely on plyo training to go faster, have more power, build balance and coordination, and increase overall strength and stamina.
But you don’t have to be making bank like an NBA baller to benefit from jump-style training. Fast, explosive movements are key to getting the most out of plyo workouts, which means reps are kept low to help skyrocket the intensity. In a shorter time than most cardio workouts or muscle-group focused strengthening sessions, you’ll build lean muscle. And the more lean muscle you have, the better your body can blast away unwanted fat, even when the workout is over and your feet are firmly on the ground.
Your Hop, Skip, and Jump Exercises
Ready to make like a bunny and bounce into a plyo workout? Give these exercises a try once or twice a week as a full workout, or use them to help you warm up to or finish out another form of fitness.
Banded Jump Squats: Mount a resistance band to be about chest height, and place one handle in each hand. With your arms down and your palms facing back, step backward until there is a little tension on the band. Lower back and down into a low squat, so that your butt drops below parallel. Power upwards and jump as high as you can, allowing your arms to swing forward to shoulder height. Land lightly on your feet back into the squat position. Complete 3 sets of 8 reps, resting in between each for one to two minutes.
Two-Legged Donkey Kicks: Start in an almost tabletop position, with your knees off the floor and your weight supported in your hands and toes. Engage your core as you kick your heels up toward your glutes and tap them down to the left (you can use a resistance band to mark the area or just an imaginary line). As soon as your feet tap down, power up quickly and repeat the motion on the other side. Each side is one rep. Complete 3 sets of 15 reps, resting in between each for one to two minutes.
Tuck Jumps: Stand tall with your legs beneath your shoulders. Build up a little momentum with a few small bounces. After about three to five, jump as high as you can straight up bringing your knees toward your chest. Swing your arms through to add more power and help with balance. Land lightly, employing a few small bounces in between each tuck jump. Complete as many tuck jumps as you can in 30 seconds, then rest for one minute. Do three to four sets.
Platform Jumps: For this exercise, you’ll need a solid platform on which to jump. This platform should be able to support your weight, including the exerted force from the landing a jump, all without falling over or risking injury to you. Consider using a workout box, stairs, or exercise steps. To do the exercise, stand behind the platform, about six inches. Power through the legs as you jump your body up and onto the platform. Stand up tall at the end of the jump. Jump off the box to the starting position to complete one rep. Complete one round of 20 jumps, starting low and increasing the height as the jump becomes easy to do.
Multilevel Jumps: Start with your legs standing on each side side of a low bench or sturdy exercise step. Lower your body slightly as you power up your legs to jump your feet together onto the platform. Power up again, and jump off the platform bringing your legs out wide and landing softly on the side of the platform to complete the first rep. Do three rounds of 12 reps.
These exercises are just a few of the many options for adding plyometrics into your fitness routine. Try adding jumps where they fit well into your workout, and launch your fat-loss results to the next level.
What do you love most about spring? Celebrate the changing seasons by sharing with others in the comments!