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Plyometrics can improve athleticism

July 30, 2013

Plyometrics are among the most effective forms of exercise for improving overall athleticism and performance in competitive sports. Ensuring your trainers have a strong understanding of the benefits of this form of exercise can be a boon to your gym and its ability to attract athletes looking to train with experts who can push them hard. Separating strength and cardio training can be helpful, but plyometrics combine aspects of both with motions similar to those performed in sports. As they say, the best way to truly improve in a given sport is by practicing it. Your facility should still provide commercial treadmills, weights and other industry staples, but a space suitable to this sort of exercise is important as well.  Plyometrics are versatile and build usable strength and skills, and are considered most effective when added to standard strength and cardio workouts as accessories to the main exercise. Many plyometric workouts will focus on jumping, an action few truly recognize for its calorie-burning yet muscle-building abilities. Personal trainers and organized classes alike can use these exercises to help gym-goers everywhere feel, look and perform better. Box pushoffs Stand with your left foot on a box (between one and two feet high) and your right foot a few feet away, assuming a somewhat wide stance set for a proper shuffle. Push off your left foot and jump to the other side of the box, ending with your right foot on the box and ready to reverse and go back to your initial position. Start somewhat slowly, but note that adding speed can improve its effectiveness in honing your athleticism. Performing 10 to each side is enough to begin with, but raise the numbers to challenge yourself. As an added challenge, try jumping as high as possible in between your two set positions to work on an explosive vertical jump. Lateral or forward hops Use cones as your guides for these multiple hop exercises. For forward hops, simply put a line of 10 or so small cones and hop over each one in a row with no rest time. As soon as your feet hit the ground, hop again. Lateral hops will only require a single cone, over which you will jump repeatedly. As with forward hops, the idea is to take no rest and repeat the motion immediately when you touch down. Standing jumps Standing jumps of any kind will help with pure explosion from a standstill. These can be forward leaps with a pause between each repetition, jumps in and out of a squat position, or box jumps onto a raised platform. Mix things up to truly optimize your performance by recruiting a variety of muscle fibers. As always, encourage clients to stretch after a tough workout. A TRUE Stretch cage can be a hugely beneficial tool to ensure gym-goers stay healthy and injury-free after a round of plyometrics that will test their bodies with high intensity in short bursts.