Plyometric Sprints & Interval Workouts

Plyometric sprints and interval training can breathe life into your workout routine

Plyometric sprints and interval training can breathe life into your workout routine

You’ve been working out for a while and perhaps you've noticed that you’re not seeing the same results you saw when you first started your workout. You might need to shake things up, and plyometric sprints and interval training just might be what you need. You’ll start seeing results again in no time after starting this type of workout.

Plyometrics

Plyometrics, also known as jump training, are a form of strength and resistance training, and you can have fun doing this type of workout. Originally developed in Eastern Europe, plyometrics are based on the concept that the faster a muscle is stretched, the faster it will shorten or contract. Speed and agility can be greatly improved using plyometrics, because the nervous system becomes “trained” to respond to a rapid muscle stretch with a rapid contraction. Examples of plyometric moves include box jumps and cone jumps. The idea is to do the jumps one after the other.

Precautions

You need to stretch and properly warm up before starting a plyometric workout. To warm up for a plyometric workout, do 60 to 80 jumping jacks. Jumping jacks are plyometric moves themselves.There is a high risk for injury during plyometric workouts, so do the exercises correctly. Landing properly is a must. Before moving on to advanced moves, practice landing softly on the middle of the foot and then rolling forward to push off the ball of the foot. Try not to move side to side at the knee.

Plyometric Sprints

Sprinting is a plyometric activity, and as anyone who has done sprinting workouts knows, it's not easy -- it's an intense workout. Most people think of sprinting as running as fast as they can for a set distance, such as the 100-meter dash. While this is true, there are other sprinting drills you can do to spice things up. Play around with the distance and the number of reps. An example might be four repetitions of 100 meters, followed by two repetitions of 250 meters. Of course, there is no end to how many combinations you can come up with. You can also use hurdles in your sprinting routine.

Example Plyometric Sprinting Exercise

One drill combining plyometrics and speed uses hurdles. Set up four hurdles and allow for enough room to sprint 40 to 50 yards after them. When beginning this type of workout, stop after each hurdle to allow yourself to stabilize before jumping the next hurdle. Once you’re a pro, you can jump the hurdles one after the other. After you’re done jumping the hurdles, sprint the 40 or 50 yards. Make sure to allow a day of rest between this type of exercise routine.

Interval Training

Interval training is a form of cardio exercise. You can burn more calories doing interval training than you can doing traditional steady-state cardio exercise. It consists of a period of high-intensity exercise, followed by a recovery period. A stationary bike, treadmill or elliptical can be used in interval training. For instance, sprint for one minute, followed by two minutes of brisk walking. Then repeat this a few times. A word of caution is needed, however; interval training can be strenuous. Make sure you are fit enough and your doctor gives you the OK before you start an interval training program.

 

About the Author

Suzanne Albrecht is a doctorate-holding pharmacist with more than five years experience writing medical/health articles. In addition to her pharmacy degree Dr. Albrecht holds a Master of Library and Information Science. Her articles have been published in "US Pharmacist" and on various websites.

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