How to Get Started With Plyometrics

Burpees are an excellent exercise to get started with plyometrics.
Photo by: Thomas_EyeDesign, Getty Images

Put on your athlete hat and get started with plyometrics.

If you’ve been thinking that plyometric training is reserved for the serious athlete only I’m here to tell you that many of us regular fitness lovers can benefit from “plyo” training. Training with plyometrics can be the difference between an average athlete and a great athlete.

Some coaches will say they can be dangerous and hard to teach but truly, plyometric exercises can be for many age ranges and abilities.

The key to safety is good form and listening to your body. If you are a complete newbie to strength training, start with the basics of strength training. Plyometrics use explosive and quick movements to develop your muscular power, speed, endurance and build bone mass. Plyometrics can help transform fat into lean muscle while increasing your heart rate and torching calories. You can become a better athlete, a faster runner or just become more fit.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of plyometrics and some of the more common exercises to get started.

Plyometrics Increase Your Physical Power

Your physical power depends on your ability to convert strength into speed. Plyometrics help increase and strengthen the muscle fibers that are responsible for turning strength into speed. Called fast-twitch fibers, the stronger they are, the faster your muscle contraction will be. Plyometrics also improve the strength of your tendons, potentially preventing injuries by increasing their elasticity.

Plyometrics Help You Perform Better

Plyometrics improve the functions of your muscles so you can run faster and jump higher. These moves can help you perform better at your sport.  But you don’t have to play sports to reap the benefits.  Everyday activities will improve with plyometrics. According to a study by ACE plyometrics can improve your balance, agility, and coordination.

Plyometrics Are Efficient

It's not news that a plyometric workout burns calories and builds muscle simultaneously, making it, arguably, one of the most efficient and effective ways to train. It’s the “work harder, not longer” mentality of getting more done in less time. The high impact and high-intensity nature of jumping movements will produce results faster. For this reason, it’s not recommended to train with plyometrics every day. Space out your workouts and listen to your body. You may need a little more recovery time in between. LINK 

How to Get Started With Plyometrics

Plyometrics are intense, so safety is key. Of course, check with your doctor first before starting any new training program, but here are some safety tips to help you be successful.

Plyometric Safety Tips

  • Make sure you warm up properly. Get your joints warm, muscles moving, and your heart pumping. A brisk walk or jogging in place for about ten minutes can do the trick.
  • Plyo moves are high impact and high intensity so start with baby steps in the beginning. Focus on quality of the movement, not quantity. 
  • Start at a slower pace, lesser range of motion, and fewer repetitions.
  • Build up to a faster speed, larger movements, and more repetitions. If you feel any pain, stop!
  • Start with the basics on a soft surface like carpet, a rubber mat, or grass.
  • Check your surroundings to make sure there are no obstacles in the way. 
  • Take a day or two between sessions for muscle repair and recovery. 
  • Listen to your body at all times.


Try each of these plyometric moves for 20-30 seconds at a time and take a quick rest in between sets. 

  • Jump Rope: To get acclimated to plyometrics, start with jumping rope like you used to do when you were a kid.
  • Power Skip: Skip like you did when you were a kid, but put some power into it. Jump and lift your knees as high as you can.
  • High Knees: Stand in place with your feet hip-width apart. Drive your right knee toward your chest and quickly place it back on the ground. Follow immediately by driving your left knee toward your chest. Continue to alternate knees as quickly as you can. 
  • Squat Jumps: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Squat down and jump as high as possible. Upon landing, squat and immediately jump up again.
  • Split Lunge Jumps: Put a jump in your lunge! Adding some air to this classic exercise will really work your backside while getting your heart rate up, too. And the combination of jumping and lunging makes this plyometric move.
  • Burpees: There are a few variations to burpees, but let’s start with a basic burpee. Begin in a standing position, drop to a squat position with your hands on the ground. Kick your feet back, while keeping your arms extended. Immediately return your feet to the squat position and jump up in the air from the squat position.

Add some plyometric moves to your workouts, challenge your muscles and you will soon be on your way to a more powerful you.