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Plyometrics

In plyometrics, jumping jacks, push-ups, and lunges are enhanced with the addition of challenging movements, like peddling your feet back and forth from a push-up position.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: August 15, 2012

Plyometrics is an exercise technique based on fundamental moves taught in middle school gym class, only tougher and without the polyester uniform. In plyometrics, jumping jacks, push-ups and lunges are enhanced with the addition of challenging movements, like peddling your feet back and forth from a push-up position, or swaying your arms side-to-side while lunging.

Benefits of plyometrics: A calorie-burning, muscle-building workout, plyometrics also increases speed and improves coordination. The drills can increase bone mass too, thereby lowering the risk of osteoporosis.

Who plyometrics is best for: Plyometrics can be an effective way to enhance any workout, whether used by a professional athlete or an everyday gym buff. They can even be found on cell phones as fitness apps. Plyometric exercises can be especially beneficial for runners, who often say that practicing quick jumping motions can decrease their race time.

Getting ready: One- to two-minute rests should be taken in between plyometric drills. The exercises should be gradually introduced into your workout and performed two to three days a week. Take a two-week break every eight weeks.

Calories burned: A 135-pound woman with a healthy metabolism can burn about 10 calories every minute (that's 200 calories in 20 minutes). Just think of the possibilities.

Celebrity Devotees

Kelly Osbourne thanks plyometrics for her svelte new figure. Jessica Biel is another proponent of the exercises.

Risks

Plyometrics are tough on the body, and if performed too often they can result in muscle strain. Plyometric exercises should be performed on a pliant surface, like a field, to protect your muscles and joints. Warming up first can help prevent injury.

Who shouldn't do it: Individuals with knee or ankle conditions should avoid plyometrics that place added pressure on the joints. Performing the exercises on sand or another soft surface may help to alleviate these problems.

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