A plyometric workout will help an athlete develop explosive power and speed in his or her muscles. It is a valuable workout for any athlete looking to become more competitive in a sport that requires quick, repetitive movements and spry movements in a variety of directions. A plyometric workout generally involves a series of jumping exercises, as well as maintaining strenuous poses for several seconds. To get the most out of a plyometric workout, an athlete should tailor his or her workout to the specific sport or activity he or she plays; a professional trainer can help develop the best plan for a specific athlete.
The two most common types of plyometric workout involve the use of jumping exercises and a medicine ball. The medicine ball workout involves handling a medicine ball in a series of hard thrusts, swings, and throws. A medicine ball can be purchased relatively cheaply, and gyms and fitness centers are almost always equipped with several medicine balls of varying weights. The medicine ball can be held in the hands and swung side to side, up or down, or across the body. Such movements can help develop strength and explosive power in the shoulders and arms, as well as in the chest and core muscles.
A plyometric workout that focuses on jumping exercises helps develop explosive leg power. Such a workout is important for athletes participating in sports such as football, basketball, or ice hockey, as well as for sprinters, cyclists, and any other athlete who will need explosive power for fast sprints, runs, or jumps. A plyometric workout that focuses on jumps often involves a series of jumping activities in which the athlete will jump over an obstacle, on top of an obstacle, or to the sides. Usually the athlete will hold the landing position after the jump before moving onto the next jump.
Some common jumping exercises include the side box jump, in which an athlete will stand on one side of a box or bench. The obstacle should be to the athlete's side, not in front of him or her. The athlete will then squat slightly to build explosive power, then jump up and to the side, clearing the obstacle and landing on the other side. He or she will then jump back in the other direction and repeat this motion several times. Other jumping exercises include the one legged diagonal jump, in which the athlete will stand with his or her feet about hip width apart. They will squat slightly to build power, then jump forward and diagonally right, landing only on the right foot. He or she will hold the position, then jump forward and to the left, landing on the left foot.