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The 9 Best Plyometrics Exercises for Muscle

Power up your workouts with these nine explosive moves.
Plyometrics exercises

A plyometric movement is quick, powerful move that starts with an eccentric (muscle lengthening) action and is immediately followed by a concentric (muscle shortening) action. Performing plyometrics movements increases muscular power, which translates to higher jumps and faster sprint times. Combining the moves with resistance training is a way to maximize power and performance, but as a general rule, if you lift legs heavy one day, then skip the lower-body plyometrics training and vice versa for upper-body lifting and plyometrics. Increase your power, strength, and personal records in the gym with these nine heart-pumping plyometric moves.

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Perform a standard pushup, but explode from the bottom position until the hands completely leave the ground. Attempt to get maximum height off the ground. Cushion your landing and repeat for 15 seconds straight. That’s one set.  Note: Don’t clap the hands during each rep. It’s a common practice, but if you’re not quick enough, you may risk an injury to your wrists or fingers.

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Use a box that is around knee height or higher—a box high enough to make you tuck your knees for your landing. Land softly on the box. Squat to a depth of approximately parallel in order to “load” for the movement, then explode onto the box. Be sure to STEP off the box, not jump down. 

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To help with dynamic coordination, this can’t be beat. Start jogging. Push off the left foot as it lands and during push off, bring right knee to 90 degrees so thigh is parallel to the ground. As you’re in the air, reach forward with both arms. Repeat with pushing off right foot. The goal is to cover as much distance as possible per stride. 

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Start in a squat position, and using your arms to propel yourself, jump as far forward and high as possible. Cushion your landing (land back in the squat position), and immediately take off into your next jump. Repeat for 10 jumps. Try to get through them in the shortest period of time. 

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Raise one leg off the ground and jump forward with the other leg. Maintain a running action so your arms should be pumping, and you should attempt not to drag a heavy leg in midair, but rather to emphasize picking the knee up. 

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Stand on a box that’s approximately knee high with feet shoulder-width apart and toes near the edge of the box. Step off and land in a full squat position. Try to spend as little time on the floor as possible, and jump as high as possible off the ground. Use your arms as much as you can to get the most height on your jump.

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Set up a low platform (the top of a step works great).  Assume a pushup start position, with one hand on flat ground, and one hand on the platform. The platform shouldn’t be much more than six inches high. Do a pushup, and on your press, explode over to the opposite side, so your opposite hand is on the box, and the other on flat ground. Continuously travel back and forth, only until your reps slow down.  

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Set up a box that brings you to a parallel squat when you sit down on it. In front of it, set up a higher box that’s approximately thigh-high. Slowly squat to the low box until you sit down. Pause on the box for a full second, but be sure to maintain the tension in your muscles. From the dead stop, explode off the ground and onto the higher box. Literally jump from your seat. 

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