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What are plyometrics? A training technique that’s great for weight loss

The explosive movements blast fat and calories — and yes, anyone can do it.
Directly below shot of carefree woman jumping against blue sky.
Plyometric training involves explosive movements like jumping and sprinting.Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images stock

Plyometrics is considered an anaerobic exercise. Oftentimes, anaerobic exercises involve maximum effort through quick and intense bursts of energy like jumping or sprinting.

Due to these quick bursts, this kind of exercise can lead to greater overall fat burn from increased caloric expenditure when compared to aerobic exercises. Anyone can start performing plyometrics by simply adding a few exercises to your regular strength workout or by devoting 1-2 workouts a week to plyometric exercises specifically for a fun and productive twist in your fitness routine.

What are plyometrics?

Plyometric training is a type of exercise that involves moving your body in ways that emphasize speed and force. This can include running, jumping, throwing and other kinds of movement that require short, intense bursts of energy.

For those looking to significantly improve athletic performance and explosive power (whether you’re an athlete or not), plyometric training is the best bet. It promotes the use of explosive force, combined with strength, power and mobility, to perform each exercise. Through plyometric training, individuals will be able to improve speed, power, strength, explosiveness and overall health.

Can anyone do plyometric training?

In training programs, plyometrics are often used to improve physical performance for athletes, especially those in high-impact sports that require a lot of jumping and running. But don’t let your “athletic ability” stop you. Anyone can do plyometric training, regardless of fitness level or experience. There are plenty of modified versions of exercises that can be useful for beginners.

Like with anything in life, too much can cause negative repercussions. Plyometrics can put a lot of stress on the joints due to the impact of consistent jumping movements. Rest is essential for recovery, so repeatedly performing plyometric training day after day may result in injury. As a personal trainer, I recommend limiting plyometric training to 2-4 times a week to allow for proper recovery time between sessions. If you’re new to plyometrics, start with 1-2 sessions per week and work your way up.

Are plyometrics good for weight loss?

Plyometrics are fantastic for weight loss as the intense exertion of maximum force required to perform each exercise increases a person’s total calorie burn. I incorporate plyometric exercises into HIIT workouts for many of my weight-loss clients. The intensity needed to complete these types of movements greatly impacts weight and aids in fat loss due to the increased caloric expenditure created.

All in all, plyometrics are a great tool for weight and fat loss.

Form check: Using proper form is key to avoiding injury

Quality will always defeat quantity in terms of exercise. This rings especially true for plyometrics.

As you start to incorporate plyometric exercises into your weekly workout routine, remember to focus on the quality of your reps rather than the quantity. Plyometric exercises are explosive, requiring a lot of energy and taking a lot out of your body. You don’t need to be performing 20+ reps of squat jumps when you first start out. Your body isn’t accustomed to it, so this is too much, too soon. Start off with 5-10 repetitions to allow your body time to adjust.

Form is also incredibly important. Make sure you are following the guidelines closely for each exercise to reduce your risk of injury. When performing an exercise correctly, results will follow!

Rest when you need it

Plyometric exercises are high impact and high intensity due to the explosive movement performed with each repetition. As you incorporate plyometrics into your workout routine, I encourage you to check in on yourself. How is your body feeling? Are your muscles feeling overworked? Some signs of this are extreme soreness or your muscles being fatigued to the point of exhaustion. If you feel these things, rest!

Rest is essential for the body to recover. If you aren’t giving your body a chance to recover, then you won’t be seeing much, if any, progress from your workout sessions. So listen to your body and rest when you need it!