Let’s be honest: getting started in the world of fitness is not easy if we were never the typical children who spent their afternoons in extracurricular activities related to sports. And, being even more honest, the gym, at first, may not be the most welcoming place in the world.
For this reason, many experts recommend trying to exercise at home first to feel more comfortable with the movements before acting in the gym. If we don’t have equipment, plyometric exercises can be our great allies: they are effective, they challenge our physical abilities, and we don’t need a lot of space to perform.
What are plyometrics?
Plyometric-style training includes short, but intense, intervals of physical activity, which will help activate fast-twitch muscle fibers, especially those in the lower body. These fibers will help us generate explosiveness, also improving our speed and our jumps.
In short, it is the type of training that the best athletes use to increase their strength, power, and agility. This can be very useful in fast-paced sports like basketball, volleyball, tennis, and even track and field, because it also helps with coordination and flexibility.
But can we all do plyometric exercises?
In short: yes. But, of course, we must adapt them to our level. If we have never played sports, we cannot start by trying to jump a meter-high box and, in fact, we should only try these types of exercises if we have a trainer nearby. There are plyometric exercises for beginners that can be very effective.
The three exercises that we should practice if we are beginners
We must stand with our feet together. We will jump to the left, as far as we can, supporting the left foot on the descent, and then the right. We repeat with the other side and, like this, successively.
We can place our clasped hands in front of us, or just let them sway naturally. The most important thing to avoid injury is not to slouch or let our shoulders roll forward when we jump. If we still do not feel very safe performing the exercise, we should jump at a shorter distance and with less height.
You have to do 15 repetitions and the ideal would be to do three series.
We know very well that, due to its effectiveness, jumping rope has become one of the favorite exercises among gym goers. It is one of the best plyometric exercises, because the time we spend in contact with the ground is minimal, which will force us to improve our balance and coordination.
We can start with two minutes jumping rope , and gradually increase this time, or add more series. If this is too difficult for us, we can divide those two minutes into 30 second intervals.
We don’t have to worry about getting caught in the rope or tripping. When this happens, we just have to return to the starting position and start again as if nothing had happened.
We will place ourselves, again, standing, with our feet together. We bend our knees a little, and take a big leap forward, landing on one or both feet, depending on our level. We turn, and jump again until we reach the starting position.
The arms should not do anything during this exercise, just swing naturally. To adapt the movement to our level, we just have to take shorter and lower jumps.
We must do three series of 10 jumps, resting between series for about 30 seconds.
How to avoid injuries
If we are beginners and do not take the appropriate measures, doing explosive exercises can lead to injury. There are certain ways to avoid it:
• We must choose a safe surface. If we perform the exercise on a mat, it must be thick and well padded. We should not do these exercises on hard surfaces, such as flagstones or asphalt, better on carpets or grass, if it is outdoors. Thus, we will take care of our joints.
• You have to start doing low jumps. Jumping very high has a big impact on our knees and ankles, so you have to start small.
• Keep your knees bent and land softly after the exercise.
Now that you know these exercises and the correct way to perform them, what are you waiting for to get in shape?
[ Via GQ Spain]
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