In honor of Leap Day today’s Workout Wednesday is all about jumping.
I’ve talked before about the benefits of using your own body weight as a tool for strength and cardio training. Plyometrics, are a great way to do this. According to Wikipedia…
“Plyometric movements, in which a muscle is loaded and then contracted in rapid sequence, use the strength and elasticity of muscle and surrounding tissues to jump higher, run faster, throw farther, or hit harder.”
I like to call it “jumping around.”
If you’ve ever done P90X, or know someone who has, then you are probably familiar with the concept of “plyo.” There is a reason why Tony Horton calls it the “X” in P90X. It’s hard! But…if you want to scorch calories, improve balance, agility, strength and speed (and feel like a Super Hero afterwards), then these are the exercises for you. Get more info on P90X here.
- Land softly and deliberately to keep movements controlled
- When squatting get your butt down and don’t let knees go over your toes
- Jump as high, and squat as low, as you can
Two Way Jumps
Balance on your right foot. Jump two to three feet forward and land on your left foot. Hold for two seconds to balance. Jump back to starting position on your right foot. Jump two or three feet to the left and land on your left foot. Hold for two seconds to balance. Jump back to starting position on your right foot. Switch start foot to the left and repeat. You should only be on one foot or the other the whole time. Jump farther and higher to increse difficulty and get more cardio benefit.
Remember when you were younger and would skip around the playground at recess? Now you can turn that fun into a great plyo exercise. Really explode of the ground with your plant foot. As you skip bring leg high up to your chest so thigh is parallel with the ground.
Basic Jump Squat
Stand with feet shoulder width apart and squat down. As you come back up push off the ground. Land and repeat. Do 10-20. For more of a challenge hold a weighted bar behind your neck.
80-20 Squat Jumps
Stand with 80% of your weight on your left leg and 20% on your right leg. Squat down, and on the way back up, jump feet off the floor. When landing be sure to land in the same 80-20 division. Then switch legs and repeat. Do at least 10 with each leg at 80%.
Race Stance Switch Jump Squat
Stand with left leg in front on right leg and bend knees so you can touch (or almost touch) left hand to the floor. See the photo below. Squat down and as you come back up, jump and twist your body to land with your right foot in front and right fingers touching the ground. Keep switching back and forth. Do 10-20.
Have a happy workout!