Are speed and power your middle names? Or do you wish they were? Some girls have always been speedy and strong. Maybe they were born that way. Maybe they jumped rope in the womb
and started skipping before they could walk. But if speed and power seem to have passed you by, don't give up! Plyometrics
can help you get fit. back to top
What are plyometrics?
They may sound like some kind of math, but plyometrics are exercises that help you develop speed and power. Plyometrics improve your ability to accelerate
(that is, speed up and slow down). These exercises also help you change your direction while moving quickly. These are skills you need to run an obstacle course or play field hockey. In fact, many plyometric exercises are sports-specific
, and they focus on sports where speed and power are important. If you play tennis, basketball
, or soccer, you'll want to give plyometrics a try. Even if you aren't into sports, plyometrics can help improve your fitness level
. And best of all, they're fun! back to top
Can I do plyometrics?
Whether you are looking to improve your tennis game or you just want to have fun trying some new exercises, you can benefit from plyometrics. A word to the wise, you should be pretty fit before you start doing plyometrics since the goal here is to go as fast as you can. Plyometrics can be very challenging. If you're not sure whether you're ready to give it a try, start by testing your fitness flair
. back to top
Ready, set, jump!
If you're fit and ready for a challenge, here goes. Plyometric exercises combine hops, jumps, and quick footwork. Think of an Olympic boxer. In fact, you've probably already done one of the most common training exercises used by boxers. Jumping rope! That's plyometrics. back to top
Give me more plyometrics!
OK, here's another exercise to try: the one-footed bunny hop. Tear off a 12-inch piece of masking tape and place it on a bare floor. (Don't do plyometrics on a rug because you could hurt yourself.) Stand on one foot on the right side of the tape. Now hop from the right side of the tape to the left side of the tape, always landing on the same foot, as many times as you can in 10 seconds. Switch to your other foot and do the same thing. Then rest for 30 seconds and repeat five times on each foot. This exercise will help you develop balance as well as speed and power.
Next, try the two-footed bunny hop. Using the same piece of tape, hop back and forth across it for 10 seconds. Keep your feet together while you hop. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat five times. back to top
Things to keep in mind
Start your workout with a warm-up
Try to keep the amount of time that your feet touch the ground as short as possible while staying in control. Be a blur of motion.
Focus on the speed of the exercises, rather than on how many of them you do. back to top