What difference does a jump make?

Posted in personal training on May 3, 2013

Personal trainer Victoria Martin talks us through the benefits of incorporating jumps a.k.a plyometric training into your fitness routine.

Jump!

It’s a love hate relationship, personal trainers love them, clients hate them. But why? Due to the high impact and muscle fibers used we are only able to perform them for a short period of time. It’s frustrating how difficult simple movements can be when executed repetitively and at speed. So if you can run comfortably for 30 minutes why not do that instead of exhausting yourself plyometric (jump) training for 15 minutes?

Plyometric training focuses on strengthening the fast twitch muscle fibers. These are the ones that contract quickly, tire quickly and use mainly the anaerobic system that enhance your explosive performance.

Jump!

When you perform a plyometric exercise your muscles go through three phases. Eccentric (when the muscle lengthens), amortisation (resting period) and concentric (when the muscle contracts and shortens). The stronger the fast twitch fibers, the faster the muscle reacts from the eccentric phase to the concentric phase therefore the more beneficial it becomes.

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One of the major benefits is the enhancement of your neuromuscular system which transmits signals from your brain to your muscles to make them contract and relax, enabling movement. The more efficient this transmission the faster you can contract and relax your muscles which increases your speed and power. This is all good if you are Usain Bolt but what if you are Rachel from Walthamstow who wants to shift a few pounds and detests burpies?

The term ‘Plyomentic’ derives from the Latin words for ‘greater’ and ‘measure’. This is because plyometric exercises increase your muscle mass. The higher your muscle mass the faster your metabolism resulting in the more calories you burn at rest. (Yes even when you’re sleeping). Not only does it increase muscle mass but the high impact explosive exercises means you burn more calories in a shorter period of time, often feeling exhausted after just 20 minutes.

Bunny hops over bench

This is not to say you should replace cardio or weight training with plyometics but it is an excellent addition to ensure your training regime doesn’t plateau.

As well as the benefits mentioned plyometric training also:

  • Strengthens tendons preventing injury
  • Uses different energy systems
  • Increases stamina
  • Improves muscle power and strength
  • Improves joint stability
  • Improves agility and balance

So why not add this circuit into your weekly training routine. The emphasis should be on speed and power rather than duration / sets so these will vary depending of your fitness level, if you are in any doubt please check with a personal trainer.

*Perform each exercise for 12 repetitions rest for 2 minutes and repeat for a further 2 sets.

  • Vertical Jumps
  • Press ups with a clap
  • High jumps
  • Burpies
  • Chest pass with medicine ball
  • Long jumps
  • Jump lunges
  • Bunny Hops over bench

*Increase / decrease the reps where necessary.

*Remember to fully warm up for at least 10 minutes prior to decrease risk of injury and Due to the high impact of plyometric exercises if you have any back or joint injuries you should seek advice from a personal trainer. 

Inspired to take a leap? You can book a personal training session with Vicki here.

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