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Plyometric Workout: Add Some Spring to Your Step!

How it Works

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The easiest way to fast track your results? Put a little spring into your step! Studies show that adding plyometric exercises to your workout routine can help build bone density and prevent injuries, as well as improve power, strength, and agility—the three elements that separate good athletes from the ones that win Gold.

Plyometrics (also referred to as "jump training") refers to movements that stretch a muscle before contracting it, like when you land in a squat jump and then quickly jump back up again. This total-body plyometric workout was designed by certified personal trainer Jessica Smith to blast hundreds of calories while improving your agility, stamina, and speed—so you can rule the tennis, volleyball, or basketball court this summer.

How it works: After completing the warm-up, perform 2 sets of 8 reps for each exercise, resting 45 to 60 seconds between each set. Once you’ve rested after the second set, move on to the next exercise in the routine.

A word of caution: Plyometric training isn’t for everyone and should only be attempted if you are fully rested, injury free, and have mastered your alignment on basic movements like the squat. Be sure to pay extra attention to your form during all of these exercises, and stop immediately if something hurts. Allow your body 1 to 2 days of rest in between training sessions, and progress gradually into the more advanced versions of the moves.


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Start by walking in place for 30 seconds, and then jog in place for 30 seconds. Next, do one minute of bodyweight squats to make sure your muscles are ready to jump.

Lateral Ankle Hops

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Stand on your right leg with your left knee bent, foot lifted off the floor. Hop to your right, landing on your right foot, and then immediately back to your starting spot, still balancing on your right foot. That’s one rep. Complete 8 reps total on your right leg, and then repeat on the left.

To make it harder, increase the width and/or height of your jumps while maintaining your speed.

Surfer Squat Jumps

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Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, extend both arms out to the sides at shoulder height, and squat down as if you were balancing on a surfboard.

Jump up, bringing your arms in to your body, and rotate 180 degrees in the air. Land in your starting "surfing squat" position, facing the opposite way. That’s one rep. Repeat 8 times.

To make it harder, tuck your knees as high into your body as you can during the jump.

Medicine Ball Throw and Catch

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Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a medicine ball. Squat down, and then quickly stand up as you throw the ball in the air overhead. Catch the ball and immediately return to your squat position. That’s one rep. Repeat 8 times.

To make it harder, jump up out of your squat as you throw the ball overhead.

Medicine Ball Slam

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Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a medicine ball. Reach the ball overhead, and then slam it down to the floor (we recommend placing a mat down first if you have neighbors below you). If your ball bounces back up, try to catch it. If not, quickly pick it up and repeat 8 times.

To make it harder, raise up onto the balls of your feet as you reach the ball overhead, and then perform a squat as you slam it down to the floor.

Switch Lunge and Hop

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Start in a lunge position with your right foot forward. Lunge down and then push off the ground and quickly switch legs in the air, landing in a lunge with your left foot forward (You can use your arms in any way that feels natural to help you get off the ground).

Repeat the same switch jump two more times (3 total), landing with your left foot forward, and then jump off the ground and land on your left foot only (that’s your hop). That’s one rep. Quickly return to your lunge position and repeat again, this time landing with your right foot forward, and then hopping on the right leg. Continue alternating legs until you've done 8 reps total.

To make it harder, don't use your arms to help get you off the ground (cross your arms over your chest as you do the lunge and hop movements).

Pushup In-Out Jump

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Start in the top of modified pushup position (you may want a mat or towel under your knees for cushion) with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders on the floor.

Lower your body into a pushup, and explosively push back up, allowing your hands to "jump" off the floor and land directly under your shoulders. Immediately bend your elbows and lower your body into a triceps pushup. That’s one rep. Repeat again, this time jumping your hands back out to the wide pushup position. Do 8 reps total.

To make it harder, extend your legs into a full pushup position. If you're really up for a challenge, place your feet on top of a sturdy chair or bench so your body is on a decline.

Final Stretch: Quadriceps Balance

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Wrap up your workout with this final stretch: Stand on your right leg, bend your left knee, and grab a hold of your left ankle with your left hand.

Reach your right arm up to the ceiling and balance, pressing your hips forward to stretch the front of your thigh and hip flexors.

Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.


Photos taken at Canyon Ranch Miami Beach