Why athletes need plyometrics

5 explosive moves for power, coordination, and fat-burning

In plyometrics, the eccentric (lengthening) phase of a muscle is quickly followed by a concentric (shortening) contraction—a fast motion that helps increase force production, and in turn, power. Plyos boost coordination, too—and because they require a lot of energy they’re high calorie-burners.

But when people think of plyometrics, jumping is usually the only motion that comes to mind. However, there are many ways to get more explosive. What's more, the training method isn’t limited to the lower body. For example, by adding an explosive movement to a push-up or slamming a medicine ball, you can increase the power of your upper-body muscles. See the slideshow for more plyo ideas to add to your routine.

NEW MOVES:Power jump; push-up to explosive push-up; frog jump; bounce step; TRX plyometric lunge into pistol squat

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  • Power Jump

    Power Jump

    Begin in a deep lunge, left foot forward, right fingertips on floor, left arm extended behind you. Push off left leg and jump up to stand, driving right knee forward, foot flexed, as you swing left arm forward and right arm back. Continue for 30 seconds. Switch sides; repeat for another 30 seconds.

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  • Push-Up to Explosive Push-Up

    Push-Up to Explosive Push-Up

    Get in plank position with your hands in the center of two adjacent squares of an agility ladder (or shoulder-width apart on the floor), and feet hip-width apart (lower knees to the ground if necessary). Bend elbows, lowering chest toward the ground, then push up to starting position. Bend elbows again, then explosively push up, raising hands off the ground to complete 1 rep. 

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  • Frog Jump

    Frog Jump

    Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms extended at your sides. Squat deeply as you reach arms behind you, hands in fists, then powerfully jump up and forward. Immediately repeat. Turn around and repeat in opposite direction when you run out of space to jump.

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  • Bounce Step

    Bounce Step

    Hold a handle of a jump rope in each hand and stand with feet together. Jump on the balls of your feet, getting no more than an inch off of the ground (as shown). Keep your arms relaxed at your sides and spin your wrists (not your arms). 

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  • TRX Plyometric Lunge into Pistol Squat

    TRX Plyometric Lunge into Pistol Squat

    Facing the anchor point of a TRX, hold a handle in each hand with palms facing down. Take a step back with the right ball of the foot and bend both of the knees to complete a reverse lunge. Spring off the ball of the right foot and sweep the left leg into hip flexion. End in a single leg squat on the left leg. Repeat motion for 30 seconds and then switch legs.

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