Plyometrics, as defined in Wikipedia: Plyometrics, also known as “jump training” or “plyos”, are exercises based around having muscles exert maximum force in as short a time as possible, with the goal of increasing both speed and power. This training focuses on learning to move from a muscle extension to a contraction in a rapid or “explosive” way, for example with specialized repeated jumping. Plyometrics are primarily used by athletes, especially martial artists, high jumpers, to improve performance,and are used in the fitness field to a much lesser degree.
Personally I had never heard of Plyometrics until I did the P90X fitness program, one of the signature fitness programs put out by a company called Beachbody. I personally never enjoyed going to the gym, nor do I run much. At home fitness is something I’ve always enjoyed, and after more than two decades of building a home gym, I now find myself enjoying exercises that are performed in front of the TV with my body weight and some dumbbells (my Nordic Track, Elliptical, Treadmill, and Single Stack Weight Machine get very little use now). There is no equipment used in the P90X Plyometrics routine. It’s a series of various moves repeated in two rounds of each set. It works pretty much every muscle in some form.
I made this video showing clips of each of the moves from the P90X Plyometrics program to give you a better idea of what Plyometrics is:
As you can see, Plyometrics can be pretty intense. It really works the lower body while burning off quite a few calories (according to my Polar watch, that 57 minute workout which includes 7 minutes of warm-up burned around 600 calories, although I never trust the readings to be all that accurate). This is just one example of a variety of exercises you can do to keep yourself active and fit. Personally, I have found that the fitness programs in the Beachbody library provide me routines to work my entire body with a mixture of resistance and cardio training.
Working out at home isn’t for everybody. The key is to find an exercise routine that you will enjoy doing each day to keep you active, whether it be the gym, running, cycling, etc.. If you happen to be interested in an at home based workout, check out the useful links section to get an idea of the programs Beachbody has.
When resistance training, many people are focused on the amount of weight and the number of reps (including myself in the past). It is much more important to focus first on form, as bad form increases the risk of injury.
Do you incorporate Yoga or Stretching into your fitness routine? If you don’t, you should. I’ll focus on Yoga, which can be considered advanced stretching.When you engage in regular physical activity, you are working your muscles. Weight training is most known for building muscle tissue and increasing strength. But regardless of your routine (weights, running, cycling, etc), you are utilizing muscle.
If you’ve ever done P90X®
, then you know about Yoga X, a 90-minute yoga routine. The first time I did it, I wasn’t too fond of it (I had never given yoga a chance and convinced myself I didn’t like it without ever doing it). After the 90 day program and doing it once a week (twice on recovery weeks), the benefits of yoga were easily noticeable. I became more flexible, and with the rigors of P90X I felt that yoga aided greatly in my recovery.
Yoga lengthens and stretches the muscle. Yoga is beneficial in many ways (depending on which moves you incorporate into your routine) – flexibility, strength, posture, breathing. It can also relieve stress and benefit the heart. I personally work hard at keeping myself in the best shape I can. I don’t train for competition so I’m not in a gym countless hours a day working muscles groups intensely – I’m just “training” for overall health. But trust me, around 1-hour a day of P90X works the muscles hard. Yoga not only aids in recovery, but it keeps you more refreshed ready to hit it hard the next time. The less flexible you are, the more prone to injury you are. Cool down/stretching after any routine you do is very important and should never be overlooked or ignored as it’s as important as the exercise itself. But yoga should be part of your weekly routine. I currently do Yoga X on my rest day (once a week) and will probably find other routines just to change it up. I’ve researched it’s benefits, and can honestly say I feel the benefits myself.
Just remember, as with any physical activity, there is always the risk of injury. Don’t push yourself past your limit or you might tear something. With yoga or and stretching move, you just want to start feeling the muscle at work. And if you have any medical condition or any doubt, you should consult your doctor before trying yoga.