As you know, I have drastically changed my fitness life. I have put down the heavy weights, gruelling hours spent on the cardio ergometers, and I have gone primitive with my workouts; using pretty much the best piece of equipment out there – my body!
For one third of 2012, I have challenged myself to complete 4000 minutes of explosive plyometric exercises from the Nike Training Club app on my iPhone. And let me tell you, I am seeing results already! Yes, these “results” are probably the sort of results that only I recognize, but hey, I workout for myself, so when I see a new bulge on my back, or new muscle definition on my legs, I get EXTREMELY happy. I don’t really care whether Gina the Gym-rat sees it or not!
My tummy is getting flatter and my legs are getting more defined (I don’t think they will ever become smaller, since I am genetically
cursed blessed with thunderous thighs). And best part…not only am I seeing results, but my friend Preet (who has been kind enough to accompany me during this challenge) is also seeing positive results. Awesome right?! SEEING RESULTS IS THE BEST MOTIVATION!
Many people have been asking me “what are plyometrics?” So for those who don’t know what plyos are, let me explain.
Plyometrics are quick, powerful, and explosive movements which improve the nervous system, build fast twitch muscle fibres, and increase power and reaction time. No wonder it is more commonly used amongst athletes eh?! Particularly MMA type athletes. These exercises will improve pretty much everything from agility, power, strength, and coordination.
Basically they are drills or exercises which first eccentrically stretch the muscle and then quickly concentrically contract that same muscle.
Muscles have a sort of defence mechanism, called a stretch-reflex, where they will actually contract when they are being stretched. I am sure you have experienced this before… as soon as you have stretched too far, your muscle will automatically contract in order to protect itself from being injured.
So, plyos play on this “stretch reflex.” Muscles will produce stronger concentric contractions, after it has been stretched!
Bottom line plyos are specifically designed to make us more powerful; this is done by increasing the maximum speed and force of each muscle contraction. Not only are they making the neuromuscular system (the intricate system of electrical signals shooting towards muscles so that they can move) more efficient, but they are actually increasing flexibility and strengthening tendons and ligaments attached to bones and muscles.
All this being said, because plyometrics are performed so rapidly and explosively, they can actually lead to injury. So please perform each exercise mindfully and WITH PROPER FORM!
Also, if you are looking to gain copious amounts of bulging muscles, then of course this type of exercise should not be your primary go-to workout; however, incorporating a few drills between sets, or even just adding one plyo-day a week might actually improve your performance and speed up results.
If you are looking to improve your speed for a marathon or a 100m dash, or to improve your vertical jump so that you can make it to the NBA, then get yourself started with some PLYOMETRICS!
Let me warn you though, plyometrics are not meant to be easy! There is a lot of jumping around, which means your heart rate is going to skyrocket.
I don’t know about you, but I love when my heart rate is up; however, I have noticed many people find this to be uncomfortable and start slowing down as soon as their hearts start to pump faster. So, if you are weak at heart then either grow some kahoonas or continue living unfit, flabby, and unhealthy.
CHALLENGE YOURSELF! Ain’t nothing going to happen if you do not push yourself!
My favourite thing about plyometrics is that I never get bored! I am jumping from one drill to the next, and performing each for only 30 seconds to 1 minute! I can perform them anywhere (like in my living room or at the park) and don’t need much equipment! Having a pair of light dumbbells will obviously increase the intensity, but really I can still get a killer workout with just my bodyweight!
You can go to My Daily Workouts to view the Nike Training Club workouts, which I have been performing. If you are confused as to what “Tuck Jumps” are or “Suitcases,” then I urge you to do a quick YouTube search of it.
YouTube has TONS of useful videos, which will teach you proper form.