With summer right around the corner, most of the fitness population will be changing up workouts to start burning fat.
With this comes a lot of frustration if we don’t meet our goals.
Let me save you the frustration and give you an approach that will set you up for success.
I’m going to show you 8 plyometric exercises that can help you get into shape for this summer!
What are Plyometrics?
Plyometrics are exercises performed traditionally by athletes at all different levels to help produce more power off what is called “ground reaction force”. This is essentially the amount of force the body produces against the ground to create more energy for the movement.
However, plyometrics doesn’t stop there. This type of training can be used for serious fat loss results.
The reason plyometrics go hand in hand with fat loss is because of the power and energy system you have to use to get the exercises complete. When performing a plyometric exercise like a box jump or a power skip, you are focusing on making the movements explosive and powerful.
When you do an exercise at this intensity for even 20-30 seconds, your body is working hard to recruit the muscle fibers it needs to perform the movement. As we all know, the more energy you are using, the more calories are being burned.
Now plyometric workouts and a traditional run on a treadmill are 2 different things. For many of us, the treadmill or bike is the first thing we run towards to help burn fat. While this isn’t the worst idea, it may not be the best either.
If you are trying to get shredded for summer, I imagine most of you will want to keep muscle as well. When you are training on a treadmill and ditching out on weights and plyometric training, you are leaving muscle gains on the table!
When you limit yourself to a treadmill, you are losing weight but you are also losing the muscle you worked hard for! So drop the treadmill and long runs to 3-4 times a week or maybe 5 shorter runs through the week. The reasoning is because when you run on a treadmill or go on a run for miles and miles, you are depleting the calories in the body that make it necessary for our muscles to keep the muscle size on.
Now on the other hand if you are someone who typically would rather jump off of a bridge than do cardio, this is where plyometric training can come in. When performing these style of workouts, not only are they more efficient for burning fat and building muscle, but they are way more fun than just looking at each car pass by the window while you jog on the treadmill.
How To Use Plyometric Exercises For Maximum Fat Loss
Plyometric exercises are a huge favorite for training athletes to produce more force and create more of a spring like reaction called stretch reflex in the muscles. There are plyometric exercises that can be beneficial for a person wanting to lose body fat as well.
Now the biggest difference is how they are programmed with the volume and intensity. Most athletes may do plyo movements with an added resistance like weights or bands. They also need to go 100% on every rep to reap the benefits. The reps are usually lower to save impact on the joints, especially under loads.
On the other hand, for losing body fat you want to do the reps with no load if you are going for more repetitions or an increased amount of time. The reasoning for this is it will save the joints from suffering unnecessary pressure. Your goal is fat loss, not to jump higher than LeBron. We will still be keeping the intensity up while performing these so still give maximum effort.
Give these 8 plyometric exercises a shot in your workout programs.
1. Alternating Lunge Jumps
This is one of my favorite plyo exercises to program for my clients and myself. Not only are you getting a solid workout for your quads, hamstrings, glutes and core but you are revving up your heart rate with this one.
I like to start in a lunge position and then when the time starts, you are exploding up by jumping off both feet. As you are in the air, you will switch feet and land with the opposite leg up.
2. Lateral Power Skips with Bands around the Thighs
This is an exercise that will build muscle on the outside of the legs and glutes. You will start by putting on a band around the thighs, I usually like to set them up about 3-4 inches above the patella. From there, you will start with both legs just about touching together.
Apply force into the ground with the outside leg and push off so that you send yourself in the opposite direction. Softly land on the inside foot and come back to the starting position with both legs a little closer together. Repeat for the total number of repetitions or the total distance.
3. Resisted Jump Throughs with Bands on a Rack
This is another favorite of mine that I tried out with my athletes. After doing this exercise, I soon realized that it would be great for fat loss. You will need some red mini bands or you can change up band tension depending on your fitness level.
You will need a rack with pegs at the bottom so you can loop the bands around a base. If you do not have a rack, you can use a couple sets of dumbbells to wrap the bands around. If you are at home and have nothing to loop bands around, I programmed burpees instead.
After you get the bands looped, you will throw the bands over your shoulders almost like a bookbag. Now when the timer starts, you will start jumping up and down at a quicker pace. When you do your jumps, come to about a quarter squat as you bring your arms down past your hips.
As you get ready to explode up, keep the chest from caving in, keep the core tight and use your arms to maximize your force as you jump up through the bands. You will notice you may only get inches off of the ground but think about jumping so high you can touch the ceiling.
4. Broad Jumps
Here is one that you can challenge yourself with. We will be performing broad jumps also known as frog jumps or long jumps. I would like you to lay on your back on the ground and measure out from your feet to your head. So if you are 6 foot tall, then you can just measure 6 feet on the ground. Once you get that marked, you will be jumping and trying to clear it each time.
Your starting position will be with your feet about shoulder-width apart. You will again come into a quarter squat with the arms coming down to gain momentum as you get ready to jump forward. When you explode off the ground, swing the arms through with you and push through your hips to gain more power. You will be jumping out and up simultaneously.
As you land, try to absorb the landing to take stress off of your knees. Turn around and find the mark you need to get to and repeat this process for the number of repetitions listed.
If you can clear this with ease then raise your arms straight over head and try seeing if you can jump over that extra length.
5. Tuck Jumps
This exercise may just be the hardest on the list because of how fast you will get tired while performing this. On the other hand, I have had a lot of success with this exercise. You are exerting so much energy and with that comes a lot of calories being burned.
You will start off in about a shoulder-width stance and begin to jump. When you jump, bring the knees to your chest like you are making a ball then bring the feet back down to catch yourself. You will repeat this for a time limit in a rapid fire style which is basically as many as you can in the time limit.
6. Air Squat Jump Complex (wide to close)
Here is another solid exercise that will target the hamstrings, glutes, and quads. You will be starting in a wide stance with the toes pointed out slightly.
When the time begins, you will go into a squat then when you come up from the rep, jump and in the air, bring the feet to a close stance and land into a close stance squat. From the close stance squat, you will jump into a wide stance squat and keep switching until your timer goes off.
7. Clap Push Ups
Want to hit the upper body? I’ve got you covered with these plyo push ups. Start in a push up position and proceed with a normal rep but as you push yourself up, explode and clap your hands. As soon as you do this, bring the hands down to catch yourself.
If you are new to this exercise or push ups in general, maybe stay away from this until you master push ups.
8. Alternating Plyo Push Ups with a Medicine Ball
Still wanting more for your upper body? Try out this one! We need a medicine ball for this exercise. Start in a push up position but place one hand on the medicine ball and the other hand on the ground.
Go down for the push up and as you come up, you are going press up and to the side slightly so your opposite hand catches on the medicine ball. You will repeat this movement back and forth for the time listed. Remember to keep your feet in the same place and to be explosive.