Earths round each sun with quick explosions burst.
Well, it’s getting to be that time of year. We’ll be spending more time indoors than outdoors. Personally, I don’t like it. I like being able to have the windows open, being able to go outside in shorts and a t shirt. But here we are, less sunshine, colder, and snow.
So what can we do about it? Move? I guess that’s one option, moving somewhere south. Other than moving we can use the time indoors to work our body even harder. We need to substitute for not being able to do the things we would normally do outside such as running, or biking. So what exercises can we do? Circuit training is one option. A circuit comprised of different exercises. Circuits can be made up to be engaging and also challenging.
Talking about challenging, that leads me to the topic of my post, Plyometrics. Have you heard this word before? Plyometrics have been around for a while and you probably are already doing some plyometric exercises. Plyometrics is a great way to build strength, explosiveness, and stamina.
Plyometrics increase the elasticity of your muscles. This allows you to handle intense workloads more efficiently. Research is also showing that plyometrics can help in increasing bone strength by stressing your bones with explosive movements.
So why does plyometrics give us these benefits? Our muscles have 2 types of contractions. The concentric, think of the upward, or lifting motion when doing a bicep curl, and the eccentric, this would be the lowering of the weight in a bicep curl. When our muscle contracts in the eccentric phase, the muscle is lengthened. This contraction is actually stronger. Have you noticed that when you lower the weight when doing bicep curls that you are stronger? Exactly!
By starting with the eccentric contraction followed by the concentric contraction plymetrics improve the responsiveness of the neuromuscular system allowing greater force production in the concentric phase.
What plyometrics does is it lengthens the muscle before the concentric contraction, or the explosive phase. Let’s look at leap frogs. What’s the first thing we do? We lower our butt to our heels, lengthening the muscles. We then explode to a forward vertical jump. Another way to look at this is think of stretch, contract. Our first movement stretches the muscle, the second is the contraction.
It’s common when looking for plyometric exercises that you will see a lot of leg work. Jump squats, Burpees, jumping side lunges. There are even boxes you can buy called Plyo boxes which are used to jump up onto. But if we look at what a plyo is, stretch – contract, it can be applied to muscle where that contraction motion is explosive.
With pushups, our chest muscles contract as we lower ourselves, and lengthen or stretch as we raise our body. We would then want to start in the down position, explode up and then lower ourselves.
If you are looking to add plyometrics to your workout, talk to your personal trainer to find out what exercises there are, or good ole Youtube is there for you too.
What’s old is new again
Plyometrics have been around for quite a while. We probably already do a lot of these exercises already not knowing they are plyometrics. If you aren’t doing them you should. Because of the movements involved they are very intense and provide a great benefit to your cardio system.
Use these exercises as a way to add variety to your workout and keep you engaged. Fight off the workout boredom. Then when spring does roll around, you will be happy to walk outside in that t shirt, because of all the hard work you put in, and because of those awesome shoulders and legs.
Yours in health,