As a fitness competitor, one of the most needed or sought after skills is to be able to jump high, have explosiveness and possess great rebounding ability. These skills can make a major difference in scoring and make an average routine become an unforgettable one. As fitness competitors, we need to have high toe touches, leaps, high jumps, explosive push ups all while making them look easy while doing it. Having competed for 13 years, I know the average lifting routine will not help you attain these skills.
So with what type of training do we do to attain these skill sets? I First Learned about Plyometrics and Speed Training through ISSA, where I earned my Strength and Conditioning Certification. ISSA took the Time to Study and Interview thousands of athletes performance and increased abilities, using power and plyometric training. I became a Certified Plyometric and Power trainer through ISSA shortly after and started using those techniques for my own training as well as for my athletes and teams. Studies show that Plyometrics can increase strength, power, speed and increase bone density to help prevent injuries in young athletes and females. this is such a bonus factor for competitors! Shortly after my introduction to plyometrics, I trained at Parisi Speed school to master different plyometric exercises and here is where I started seeing major changes in my own abilities in routine as well as with my athletes in their training.
Through my education with ISSA and Parisi speed school, I developed a love for Plyometrics.This activity increases leg power, trains the central nervous system to activate large muscle groups quickly during movements and adds flair to your routines.
These exercises can improve throwing, jumping, landing and can be easy or extreme depending on the athlete.
These exercises involve rapid stretching then shortening of a muscle group during highly dynamic movements. It involves a massive stretch in the muscle itself and a vigorous muscle contraction, which in return grants extreme ability in muscular force. This over loads the muscle giving it more ability to increase strength and power.
You can see how plyometrics prepare the body to absorb shock or impact, as well as develop the ability to perform an immediate muscle contraction right after. So in addition to Training the specific muscle group, we are also training the central nervous system to respond quickly.
Want to improve your fitness level by leaps and bounds? Try plyometrics. These high-intensity, explosive movements rev up your heart rate and burn major calories (around 150 from this routine!) while challenging multiple muscle groups and strengthening bones. All you need is a stopwatch and the following moves from Stacy Moutafis, personal trainer and fitness competitor at SM Fitness in NY. For the best results, do the series two times through, three times a week. Before you start, warm up with at least 10 minutes of low intensity cardio to activate all muscle fiber involved.
Move 1: Jump Squats
(A) Begin with your feet hip-distance apart. Lower into a squat as you extend your arms, elbows bent and hands in loose fists. Push your hips back and keep your weight on your heels.
(B) Push off the balls of your feet and jump, letting your arms swing behind you. Land softly on the balls of your feet. Repeat for 45 seconds, then rest for 15.
Move 2: Push-Up and Pop-Ups
(A) Lower into a push-up, then press back up to the starting position.
(B) Jump both of your feet forward so that they’re just behind your hands. Shift your weight forward and jump your feet back so you return to plank position. Repeat for 45 seconds, then rest for 15.
Move 3: Lunges With Hops
Stand with feet together, hands on hips.
(A) Step back with your right foot and lower into a reverse lunge. Shift your weight onto your left leg.
(B) In one movement, rise up, bring your right knee forward, and jump, lifting your right knee to hip level. Land lightly on your left foot and step your right leg back into a lunge. Repeat for 45 seconds, then rest for 15. Switch sides.
Move 4: Jumping-Jack Planks
(A) Begin in high plank.
(B) Keeping your abdominals tight and body straight from head to heels, jump your feet out wide and back together, landing softly on your toes. Repeat for 45 seconds, then rest for 15.
Move 5: Skater Jumps
Begin with feet together, hands by your sides.
(A) Bend your elbows and bring your palms together in front of your chest. Cross your right leg behind your left and lower into a half squat.
(B) Push off with your left foot and jump up and to the right. Land lightly on your right foot, crossing your left leg behind your right. Lower into a half squat. Repeat for 45 seconds, continuously jumping from side to side, then rest for 15.
Move 6: Mountain Climbers
(A) Begin in high plank, keeping your abs engaged and body straight from head to heels. Without rounding your back, bend your left knee and pull it in toward your chest.
(B) Quickly extend your left leg back to the starting position. Repeat with your right leg. Continue for 45 seconds, switching legs as quickly as possible while holding your plank, then rest for 15.
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