If you want to lose weight and get fit, then plyometric power moves are ideal. Rather than just focussing on cardio endurance, or muscular hypertrophy (building bigger muscles), it builds functional strength and also provides an intensive workout.
Athletes, boxers and martial artists rely on functional strength, which means that the muscles are being strengthened with the aim of doing something better, such as pushing, pulling, punching and kicking. To carry out this routine a step helps, but is not essential. A medicine ball is required though.
1. Squat Jumps – 20 repetitions
To start stand with feet shoulder-width apart, trunk flexed forward slightly and back in a straight, neutral position. Your arms should be in the ‘ready’ position, with elbows flexed at approximately 90 degrees. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel with the ground. Explode upwards, driving your arms up as you go. Land on both feet, and repeat the move. To give your legs a rest, follow this with the plyometric medicine ball slams.
2. Medicine Ball Slams – 20 repetitions
Stand with your feet parallel, and your knees slightly bent. Pull the medicine ball back behind your head and forcefully throw the ball down on the ground as hard as possible. Catch the ball as it bounces from the ground, repeating the exercise. Now that your legs are rested, time for some lunges.
3. Alternating Split Squat Jumps – 20 repetitions
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Step back with left leg, standing on the ball of your back foot. Your feet should be in a staggered stance. Keep your head and back straight, in a neutral position, and place your hands on your waist. Lower body by bending at right hip and knee until thigh is parallel to floor, and then explode vertically. Switch feet in the air so that back foot lands forward, and vice versa. Back to the upper body now, with some push ups.
4. Modified Explosive Push-up – 20 repetitions
A normal explosive push up is hard, and to do 20 reps may be asking too much right now. So we modify it by putting our knees on the ground, so you do not have to lift so much bodyweight. Start by getting into a push-up position, with your knees on the ground. Lower yourself to the ground and then explosively push up so that your hands leave the ground. Catch your fall with your hands, immediately lowering yourself into another plyometric push-up. Repeat as many as possible, aim for 20! Not time to get back on your feet with step jumps.
5. Step Jumps – 20 repetitions
Although a step is not essential for this exercise, it does provide a barrier the right height and shape. Start by standing beside the object to be cleared. Bring your knees up and jump vertically and also sideways off the floor and over the step / barrier. Land on both feet, and then without pause, jump back to the other side.
6. Medicine Ball Squat Throw – 20 repetitions
This plyometric exercise requires a large open space. Start by standing in a quarter-squat, with your torso flexed forward and a medicine ball held between your legs, and with arms slightly bent. Drop down into a full squat and lower the ball so that is almost touches the floor. Then lift and throw the ball up as high as you can, using your legs to explode upwards. Catch the ball after a bounce (do not try to catch it from the air, unless you have a very safe pair of hands) and repeat.
Like all old school / traditional training routines, you need some equipment and plenty of space to complete these workouts. But this is an excellent workout which will help to improve performance in just about any sport, and is especially useful for complimenting martial arts training.
Web Resource on Plyometrics
“Acute Effects of Plyometric Exercise on Maximum Squat Performance in Male Athletes” by NAOTO MASAMOTO, RICH LARSON, TODD GATES, AND AVERY FAIGENBAUM. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2003, 17(1), 68–71q 2003 National Strength & Conditioning Association
“A Review of Combined Weight Training andPlyometric Training Modes: Complex Training” (PDF) by William P. Ebben, MS, MSSW, CSCS and Phillip B. Watts, PhD