The word "plyometric" sounds scarier and more complicated than it actually is. At its core, plyometric training is synonymous with jump training. The point of implementing it into your fitness routine is to teach your muscles how to exert as much force as possible in the shortest amount of time, which is what you do when you jump.
Training your muscles to be more explosive is highly useful for improving speed, increasing power, and boosting athletic performance. Intense plyometric training will also increase your heart rate, providing you with excellent cardiovascular benefits and a post-workout calorie burn. Moreover, plyometric training is great for improving total force-generation capacity. This means plyo training can help you lift heavier and get stronger using only your body weight.
But wait, there's more! Plyo workouts are also really fun and can be adjusted to fit whatever goal you're working toward. So, whether you're an athlete, someone preparing for her first fitness or physique competition, or a gym-goer who wants to be as fit as possible, adding plyometric workouts to your training regimen can be extremely beneficial.
NLA for Her athletes Jessie Hilgenberg and Lais DeLeon utilize plyo training regularly. Here are some of their favorite plyometric workouts that help them burn fat and build muscle. Try one of them today!
Jessie Hilgenberg's Fat-Burning HIIT and Plyo Circuit
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the best training methods to burn fat. "But don't expect HIIT to be easy," warns Hilgenberg. "You will not be emailing or surfing Instagram while you're doing interval training!"
Doing HIIT properly means you'll work as hard as you can for a specific work period, then rest for a specific interval. You'll repeat this pattern for at least 20 minutes. If your intensity isn't high, you're not going to see results. So, if you don't have a trainer or a partner, you have to hold yourself accountable and push your limits.
By pairing HIIT with plyometric training, Jessie trains her strength and her conditioning simultaneously. It's the best of both worlds. "You don't need fancy equipment to do this workout," she says. "Do sprints at a local school track or down your street, and perform box jumps onto any sturdy surface."
Jessie Hilgenberg's Fat-Burning HIIT and Plyo Circuit 2
To help build explosive muscles and further improve her conditioning, Jessie Hilgenberg has another HIIT-plyo combo workout up her sleeve.
The most difficult part of this workout is getting to the proper intensity level. "If you struggle to push yourself hard enough, hire a sports conditioning trainer," suggests Hilgenberg. "He or she will time your work and rest periods to ensure you're not resting too long and you're working with intensity."
"Tracking your heart rate is the key to an effective HIIT session," Jessie further explains. "During your work periods, aim to increase your heart rate to 85-95 percent of your maximum heart rate. While you rest, try to bring your heart rate down by about 30 percent from that max."
As you go, measure how long it takes you to reach your maximum heart rate and how long it takes you to return to your resting heart rate. "As you become more conditioned, it will be harder to get your heart rate up to its maximum and easier to get it back down to its resting state," Jessie notes, so how your heart rate improves is an excellent measure of your fitness level.
Lais DeLeon's "Death by Lunges"
"You don't need a gym for this workout challenge," says Lais DeLeon. "So it's super convenient and you can perform it any time you want."
DeLeon's Death by Lunges workout is built on one movement: the lunge. Lunges are a fantastic lower-body movement that will challenge your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and even your core. She utilizes a variety of lunge variations and a ton of reps to shock her muscles into growth.
"To do this workout, complete 200 total lunges for time," says DeLeon. "Choose between the following lunge variations in any combination that you like. Challenge yourself to incorporate weight whenever possible, but remember the point is to get through the lunges as quickly as possible."
For optimal results, tackle this workout on a day that's at least three days apart from your normal heavy leg day.
If you're new to plyometric training, start by implementing one of these workouts into your weekly fitness regimen in place of one of your regular cardio workouts. Plyo workouts are intense, so make sure you get plenty of rest between them if you choose to do more than one per week.