Plyo-Magic! Jumping into A Toned Body (Part 1)

Written with love, by Nikki Lian

Plyometrics, or "plyo" for short, is also known as "jump-training."  Plyometrics are supplemental exercises used by athletes to help condition themselves to jump higher and move faster. For example, a basketball or volleyball player may add box jumps or one-legged hops to their traditional routines.  When you land from a jump it's like your muscles are getting a stretch. When you combine stretching and contracting your muscles you are actually toning those muscles.  Here are some exercises that I like to add to my routines as well as my clients':


One-Legged Hops

This exercise says exactly what it is--hopping on one leg. In the picture you can see Trina using agility hoops to work on her one-legged hops, but you can do this exercise anywhere.  A suggestion would be to make a good old fashioned hopscotch grid and hop through each square one leg at a time. The muscles targeted in this exercise are your quadriceps, aka your pretty amazing thighs. Try this exercise for twenty seconds and work your way up to a minute from there.

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Lateral Hurdle Jump

Here is another challenging exercise but one that works your hip-adductors, or as we know them, the inner thighs.  Below, Trina is jumping over a hurdle moving side to side. However, once again, you can get creative as to what to jump over. Sometimes I use a jump rope tied to two trees. If you have a cone or even a shoebox, that would work as well.  Just make sure if you are a beginner, you start with something lower to the ground. Start off with jumping side to side (both feet together) over the object for 20 seconds and build your way up to a minute.

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Floor Jacks

Floor Jacks are done by placing your hands on the floor and getting into a plank position.  Jump landing your feet apart and then back together just as if you were doing a jumping jack. This is a great exercise for your quadriceps, but since your hands are on the floor, it is also working your core.  You may start feeling it in your calves as well.  If you don't feel comfortable doing this exercise yet, you can stand straight up and do regular jacks until you build up your strength and stamina. This should be also tried out for 20 seconds straight, and then you can work your way up to a minute.  


Plyometrics aren't just for athletes. A 150 pound person can burn up to 500 cal in one hour doing these exercises. I love to use these with my Fit Breakers, who only do half-hour sessions with me. Plyometric exercises get their heart rate up, and help them to tone and burn fat in the short amount of time we have together (although they sometimes consider them torture devices).

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Thank you to my wonderful and hard-working model this week, Trina, for helping me demonstrate this plyo workout. Next week I will be showing you a couple of upper body and abdominal exercises using plyometrics. Work hard and have a wonderful week!