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How do I Choose the Best Plyometric Program?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2016
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A strong plyometric program will help you develop muscles which support fast movements. Your muscles will become more powerful through a good plyometric program, but it is important to choose the right exercises to develop plyometric fitness. A plyometric program will help develop "explosiveness" as well as a healthy nervous system; any exercise that involves jumping or squatting is generally considered a plyometric exercise, and such exercises stress the importance of balance and endurance. Some exercises may require the services of a partner or spotter for safety.

Little equipment is necessary for a good plyometric program, but one good investment is a medicine ball. The medicine ball can be swung above the head and downward toward the ground to develop explosiveness in the upper body. It can be thrown or tossed to improve speed and agility, and it can be used to enhance other exercises by adding weight. A medicine ball is generally inexpensive and easy to store when not in use, and it is an important part of any good plyometric program.

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Standing jumps are a good start to any plyometric program. Start by standing with both feet firmly on the ground about hip-width apart. Then jump forward onto the left foot, squat so the leg gets as close to a ninety degree angle as possible, and hold the position for a second. Then use the stored energy to thrust forward onto the right leg and squat in the same way. Repeat this exercise several times to build explosiveness in the thighs, buttocks, hamstrings, and calves.

Another good exercise to add to any plyometric program is the single leg jump. Begin by standing on one leg with the knee slightly bent. The other leg should be held up so that the calf is touching the back of the thigh. Jump forward and to the left, landing on the same foot. Then jump forward again to the right, again landing on the same foot. Repeat this exercise with the other leg as well. Make sure the knee is always slightly bent to prevent injury.

A variation on the above exercise is the double leg jump. Begin in the same position, standing on the left foot with the knee slightly bent. Jump forward and to the right, this time landing on the right foot instead of the left. Hold the position for a second, then jump forward and to the left, landing on the left leg again. Hold and repeat.

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