Jump training improves balance, strength, and cardiovascular health.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of working up a good sweat during a difficult workout. If you’re a strength trainer with no equipment, or you like your cardio but you’re getting sick of running, then you might want to consider giving plyometric training a go. This involves doing jumping exercises that push your muscles to their maximum in short bursts.
Plyometric workouts are dynamic, difficult, and really good for you. Doing a plyometric workout or introducing jumping exercises into your regular workout routine will increase your upper and lower body strength, which in turn has a great effect on your posture and balance. Jump exercises also help to build bone density, which is good news if you’re injury-prone or have a family history of osteoporosis.
Plyometric workouts can also be done wherever you are so long as you have a bit of space, because they require absolutely no equipment. This, coupled with the fact that they keep you moving and are a great endorphin boost, makes them perfect to try out while you’re working from home.
You may also like
Best home workouts: 3 steps to strength train away from the gym
Bear in mind that plyometric workouts are strenuous, and your body will need plenty of time to recover. So don’t overdo it and make sure you rest for at least 30 seconds between sets.
Once a firm favourite for all of us on the playgrounds and in PE classes, star jumps are actually an excellent exercise for improving your strength and cardiovascular health. Start by standing straight and tall, with arms by your sides. Then bend your knees slightly, getting ready to propel yourself upwards. Jump up, extending your legs outwards and your arms out from your shoulders, so that your body forms a star shape in the air. Keep your core tight and your torso straight. Land softly with bent knees and feet together.
Burpees are a difficult exercise that will probably get you slightly sweaty and a little breathless. They work your whole body and get your heart rate right up, so they’re a really effective part of any workout.
Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, and then squat down by bending through your knees and pushing your hips back. Reach your arms out in front of you as you lower yourself down, until they touch the floor. Once your hands are planted on the ground, jump your feet back out behind you to land in a plank position. If you can, do a press-up, then jump your feet back towards your hands. When you’re back in a squatting position, jump into a standing position and then immediately go into another rep.
Start standing with your feet hip-width apart and your arms down by your sides. Bend your knees and push your hips back as you lower yourself into a squat. Then jump up, bringing your knees up high in front of you and making sure to keep your torso straight and chest lifted. Land back in a squat position with your knees bent.
This is a great exercise for improving your coordination. Start standing, and bend your knees just before you start your jump. Keeping your feet together, push up through your heels and jump upwards and to the right. Land softly with your knees bent, and then jump up and to the left.
Side-to-side plank jumps
Plank exercises are great core workouts. Adding in a jump ups the ante a bit and puts your muscles to the test. Start in a high plank position, with your hands planted flat on the floor and arms straight. Jump your legs out, so that they go wider than your shoulders, and back in to the starting position. That is one rep.
Lunges allow you to work at strengthening each leg individually, which is massively beneficial for balance and improving your range of motion. Start your jump lunge by standing with your right leg forward and your left leg back.
Bend your knees and lower yourself into a lunge, keeping your core tight. Then push up through your feet and jump upwards, switching your feet so that when your left leg is in front and your right lack is back. Land carefully with bent knees, so that your left knee is on top of the left foot. Do not lock your knees or hips. Again, lower yourself down into a deep lunge and repeat the jump.
Single leg jumps
Like all the others, you can do single leg jumps without any equipment but you can up the intensity by using a platform such as a box or a step.
Stand straight, and then shift your weight onto your right foot as you lift your left leg out behind you. Bend your right knee, push your hips back, and then jump – either as high in the air as you can, or onto your platform of choice. If you jump onto a platform, jump back down onto the ground to start again. And, whether you’re jumping straight up or onto something, make sure to land softly with a bent knee.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and put your hands on your thighs. Then, jump straight upwards, pushing your arms up into the air above your head and elongating your body. Land softly with bent knees, return to the start position.
Follow @StrongWomenUK on Instagram for the latest workouts, delicious recipes and motivation from your favourite fitness experts.
Image credit: Getty