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Plyometrics: Three explosive exercises even beginners can try

0 8 months ago

Plyometrics are dynamic exercises that help build strength, power, balance, and agility, although starting slow and simple is best.

As a kid, I spent many Saturdays romping around my Florida neighborhood imitating Colonel Steve Austin, better known as The Six Million Dollar Man to avid TV watchers in the 1970s.

The popular show featured a bionic man — half human and half machine — who could jump from three-story buildings, leap over six-foot-high walls, and bolt into a full 60-mile-per-hour sprint. Naturally, these actions occurred in slow motion with an iconic vibrating electronic sound effect.

My own bionic moves involved jumping to pluck oranges from tree branches, hopping over anthills, and leaping across narrow ditches while humming that distinctive sound. I didn’t realize it, but this imitation game taught me the foundations of plyometrics — the popular training routine now used by top athletes to boost strength, power, and agility.

The 10 Best Plyometric Exercises for Athletes | STACKWhat are plyometrics?

Plyometric training involves short, intense bursts of activity that target fast-twitch muscle fibers in the lower body. These fibers help generate explosive power that increases speed and jumping height.

“Plyometrics are used by competitive athletes who rely on quick, powerful movements, like those in basketball, volleyball, baseball, tennis, and track and field,” says Thomas Newman, lead performance specialist with Harvard-affiliated Mass General Brigham Center for Sports Performance and Research. Plyometrics also can help improve coordination, agility, and flexibility, and offer an excellent heart-pumping workout.

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