If you're looking to develop muscular strength in your arms, lifting weights will do the trick. For explosive arm muscles, however, you'll need to kick it up a few notches and build some muscular power. Power is not just how much force your muscles can produce, but how quickly they can produce it. Plyometric arm exercises deliver on both fronts. Your body weight provides enough resistance during plyometrics to get the explosive guns you crave.
Mechanics of Plyometrics
Plyometrics require your muscles to briefly lengthen, or stretch, and then immediately contract. Upper body plyometric exercises increase how powerfully your arms can push forward. The benefit of incorporating upper body plyometrics that just use your body weight as resistance is that they can be completed anywhere and at anytime.
Performing plyometric arm exercises can improve your performance in an array of sports. If you play baseball or softball, improving your upper body power will allow you to throw the ball faster and further. Volleyball players will be able to spike the ball harder. If you play flag football, you’ll be able to block opponents more effectively. Golfers will find they can hit the ball further. Both professional and amateur athletes will see significant performance improvements by incorporating upper body plyometrics into their training.
Exercises to Try
Two upper body plyometric exercises that utilize your body weight as resistance include plyo pushups and pushup depth drops. To perform plyo pushups, get into the traditional pushup position. Lower down to the floor at a normal cadence and then explode up so that your hands come up off the floor. Land softly and then immediately drop down to perform the next repetition. For pushup depth drops, get into a pushup position, but with each of your hands on a box or other platform that’s a couple inches off the floor. Drop your hands down to the floor and lower into the down component of the pushup, then explode up and land with your hands back onto the boxes.
Guidelines for Effectiveness
Plyo pushups and pushup depth drops are incredibly taxing and stressful on your muscles and musculoskeletal system, so they should be performed just one to two days per week. In order for the upper body plyometrics to be effective, you’ve got to allow your muscles enough time to rest. At least 72 hours is needed for full recovery. Complete two sets of eight repetitions of both plyo pushups and pushup depth drops, resting about three minutes in between each set.
Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.