Plyometrics are explosive movements designed to activate your muscles fibers quickly and forecefully. This helps build muscle, which translates to increased speed, efficiency and energy in everyone, making this exercise style especially important for runners.
“Like a pogo stick, your body can store energy from impact and then release it to propel your body forward. As such, a large portion of your propulsive energy actually comes from the energy stored in your legs from impact previously made with the ground,” according to Competitor.com. For example, jumping high is easier after quickly bending your knees as opposed to slowly.
This style of movement is critical for strength training and should be a regular part of your workout. Make time for these simple plyometric exercises at least once a week.
Jumping Front Lunge
Bring your right foot forward, squat down into your lunge and instead of bringing your foot back, use the energy from squatting to jump in the air, bringing your left foot forward this time. Do 10 reps on each leg and repeat 2 to 3 times. Make it harder by holding a dumbbell in each hand.
Position your legs just a little wider than your shoulders and squat. Use the power from your squat to jump as high as you can, coming back down into a squat to complete one rep. Do 10 to 15 reps and repeat 2 to 3 times. Make it harder by holding a dumbbell in front of you or a barball on your shoulders.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and lunge to the side with your right foot, carrying your left foot over to tap behind your right. Once all the way to the right, reach down and touch your front foot with the opposite hand and then explode over to the left and repeat to complete one rep. Do 10 reps and repeat 2 times.
Use a box or stairs and propel yourself into the air and onto the item you’re jumping on. If using stairs, start with the first step until you get comfortable; progressively move to the second or third. Choose your box height carefully as well. Do 10 reps and repeat 3 times.
Find a large space, think long hallway, basketball court or large yard, and leap forward with both feet. Go as high and far as you can, using your quads to explode. Do this 5 times one way, and 5 times back for one set. Repeat 2 times.