Safety Considerations for Plyometric Workouts
Plyometric exercises are explosive movements that use force and speed to generate power. Imagine Coby Bryant or Michael Jordan jumping to dunk, plyometric training, at least in part, makes it possible.
Since they are high-impact and explosive, they present their own “brand,” so to speak, of training safety mandates. After all, you’re hitting the upper and lower body. Unlike other exercises, such as isometrics, in which, by definition, you are stationary, jump hard and land, in most cases, on a solid surface. So to relieve any stress in this regard, it’s a good idea to invest in a plyometric mat.
Be careful what you land
Jumping off a plyometric platform, like you would a box jump, increases impact up to 7x more than just running on pavement. Therefore, landing on a “skid” [emphasis placed on non-slid] matte or soft rugs are a must.
Consider Your Fitness Level: Lighter Plyometrics
Naturally, if you haven’t done plyometrics before, you’ll want to follow modified or lighter versions of plyometric training.
Some of the “lighter” plyometrics include movements like:
- jump the rope
- jump squats
- clap push ups
One of the modified versions of a plyometric exercise that is a “safe” alternative for anyone not acclimated to repetitive jumping is jumping jacks. Not only are you getting your heart rate up, but you’re also engaging your upper body, something that typically doesn’t happen when you’re practicing lateral box jumps or jump squats.
Jumping on a trampoline or jumper can also alleviate the impact effect that occurs when using certain plyometric jumps.
As with most exercises, form matters to avoid injury and get optimal results. It is imperative to perfect the form of any plyometric exercise before doing it quickly or explosively.
Eat healthy and hydrate
When it comes to safety, you should also think about how you feed and hydrate your body. Because plyometrics rely heavily on muscle strength, it’s important to stay well hydrated and fuel your body with the proper vitamins and nutrients. Drinking 8 ounces of water before starting a plyometric workout is just as essential as staying hydrated after your routine. Even eating vegetables and fruits can increase the amount of fluid you consume.
increase the intensity
Not all plyo exercises impart the same intensity of movement. Therefore, it is important to develop those exercises that are more difficult. To ensure that training is safe and progressive, exercises should evolve from low-intensity exercises to advanced plyometric training, especially for people who are less experienced in power and strength training.
Keep exercise to a minimum
When you’re just beginning a plyo routine, it’s also safer and more prudent to keep exercises to a minimum. For example, sessions may include two lower body plyometrics interspersed with upper body plyometrics.
hire a trainer
The most effective plyometric training is individualized to the particular needs of those doing the training. A personal trainer can design a plan tailored to your specific needs and goals.
Recovery and Rest
Proper recovery within a single workout and between workouts cannot be emphasized enough to prevent injury. A proper balance is 1 to 3 minutes rest between sets and 3 to 5 minutes between different exercises in a single training session.
Recovery between workouts can depend on variables, which are based on individual training requirements, and here again, the expertise of a trained specialist is most valuable.
A relatively safe plyometric exercise
For safety reasons, proper exercise selection is imperative. While a wide range of plyometric exercises can support one’s fitness goals, some workouts are applicable for a certain sporting activity. To exercise safely, choose a lower-body plyometric exercise that is considered low-intensity, such as the jump squat.
To perform this exercise, you should stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your torso slightly bent forward. Stand so that your back remains neutral but straight. Position your arms so that your elbows are bent at 90 degrees. Lower your body so your thighs are parallel to the ground.
Make a quick move at this point (don’t spend a lot of time squatting) and jump up explosively before landing on your feet. Rest one or two seconds and repeat the exercise. To play it safe, extend your ankles to full plantar flexion (the optimal range). This type of exercise can prepare you for more challenging workouts, such as those represented by box jumps, depth jumps, and tuck jumps.