Remember the fun you had skipping and jumping as a kid? You were doing a version of plyo. Also known as ‘jump training’, plyo is a range of explosive, high-intensity movements that challenge different muscle groups simultaneously. This style of training will raise your heart rate, build lean muscle, blast fat reserves and up your fitness levels – quite literally – by leaps and bounds.
To get the full story on plyo, we caught up with Fitness First Personal Trainer Paul Chipp who is a big fan of this style of training: “Plyometrics is your secret fat-burning weapon. Done right, it will burn the maximum number of calories in the shortest amount of time while toning your body from head to toe.
“There’s a lot of jumping and throwing stuff in plyo: the high-energy expenditure of the exercises and the fact you’re not isolating muscles creates a killer workout. Introducing plyo to your fitness routine will benefit other training too. You’ll notice improvements especially in stamina, speed and agility. I tell my clients they can expect measurable results within six weeks. They also see considerable improvements in any games they play requiring swiftness and coordination, such as football or basketball.
“It’s not boring either: Plyo reminds me of when I was a kid. It’s an intense workout, but it’s fast and fun. You have to think on your feet, changing directions quickly – and who doesn’t like to throw things around?”
Paul’s top tips
- As with all high-impact training, care must be taken with plyo. Stretch, warm up and cool down properly.
- Perform plyo moves on a soft surface like grass, carpet or rubber mats to minimise joint impact.
- Focus on landing from toe to heel from a vertical jump, using your leg muscles to take pressure off the knees.
Try plyo for yourself. Here are five of Paul’s favourite plyo exercises:
Choose between the time or the volume of reps and sets you do. This will vary from person to person. Beginners might like to start with 3-5 reps or 15 seconds of each exercise with a minute’s rest in between each set.
If you’re more experienced, look at 6-8 reps or 30 seconds and aim to do all the exercises back-to-back in a circuit without resting, or just reduce the rest time.
1. Bunny Hops
A fun exercise that’s tough on the core and legs, and great for shoulder stability. Try to ‘twist’ as you jump over the step and keep those feet from ‘resting’ on the floor.
2. BOSU Plyo Travelling Push-up
A jumping push-up with a frontal plane of motion. This one needs lots of space so be careful of anyone around you if you’re in the gym!
3. TRX Jumping Squat Row
This is a massive calorie burner and brilliant for developing jumping speed and co-ordination. Be careful not to go so fast you miss the step on the way back up.
4. Medicine Ball Rainbow Slams
This is one of my favourite core exercises that will really enhance your throwing power. Be careful on the first few to ease into a nice rhythm; then add more of a ‘crunch’ to get the abs working harder.
5. Plyo Box Side Jumps
Make sure you’re using a box that’s high enough to be a challenge but not so high you can’t clear it. Aim to land softly in a half-squat position to take the impact off your knees.
So, what was your favourite playground game? Did it include any of these moves?
Follow Paul: @titaniumbodies