Remember those days back in gym class when you had to jump, run and sprint all over the place? Those moves your phys ed had you doing were called plyometrics, and they were forced on you for a very good reason: to get you in shape as fast as possible.
Plyometrics are any exercises that include explosive movements: moves like burpees, jump lunges, mountain climbers, and box jumps.
Here are seven reasons you should do plyos on a regular basis:
1. Burn more fat
Since plyometrics are by nature high intensity, they help you burn more fat than moderately-paced exercise will. Plus, the afterburn effect of plyometric-style training means you'll be boosting your metabolism for the next 24-48 hours after your HIIT-style workout, so you'll continue to burn calories long even after your workout is over.
2. Boost athletic performance
Whether you're a runner, like to rock climb on the weekends or enjoy getting friends together for a game of ultimate frisbeet, plyometrics training can help boost your performance in—and help you get you in shape for—whatever sports or activities you like to do because it's a great way to build explosive power. The benefits of plyo training directly translate to athletic performance, whether it's height, speed or strength.
3. Increase coordination
If you're prone to tripping and often have bruises from running into random things, plyometric training can really help. All that jumping and bounding around may feel awkward at first, but include it regularly in your workouts and the result will be increased coordination.
4. Get more done in less time
Rather than slugging away on an elliptical machine for an hour or more at a time, plyos and HIIT-style exercises can help you get fit in minutes if practiced regularly. Quicker, more effective workouts also give you much less of an excuse not to work out!
5. Build strength
Plyometrics training really focuses on increasing strength and efficiency of fast twitch muscle fibers. This means doing plyos regularly can result in both strength and speed gains, without ever touching a weight.
6. Get your heart rate up
There's nothing quite like plyometrics exercises to get your heart rate up in no time! Regularly boosting your heart rate with exercise helps maintain a healthy heart for life.
7. Build joint and bone health
Any type of resistance training can help build and maintain joint and bone health, and plyometrics are no exception. Include exercises like squat jumps, tuck jumps and plank jumps in your workouts and you'll help build lifelong healthy joints and bones.
Photo courtesy of the author