Plyometrics are a great addition to any athletes training to improve their power. This type of training began in Russia many decades ago and was known then as shock training.
Plyometrics are known to improve strength by making good use of a process called the strength shortening cycle which generates maximal power output.
A simple way to explain this process is to consider the muscle as an elastic band; the stronger the stretch, the farther the band can travel when let go!
Plyo Cardio Circuit for Strength & Power
Exercise #1: Front Box Jump
The Front Box Jump is one of the most-used plyometric exercises because it is very effective at increasing one’s vertical jump. It strengthens your quadriceps and glute muscles, which are essential for jumping.
This is a really popular plyometric exercise due to its capability to increase an athlete’s vertical jump effectively.
Stand in front of a 6’ inch plyometric box. Place your feet shoulder width apart in a squat position.
Squat down and power back up explosively utilising your arms as well as the rest of your body.
Land on the balls of your feet onto the box. Return to the starting position and repeat the exercise. If you find this too easy, simply choose a high box.
Exercise #2: Scissor Jumps
This is a plyometric version of a lunge, and so is great for adding strength and power to the glutes.
Begin in a basic lunge position with your knees behind your toes and your back straight.
Lower yourself down and power up, alternating your leg position mid air. Land gently and begin your net jump straight away.
Repeat the movement changing legs each time to ensure each side is trained equally.
Exercise #3: Barbell Squat Jumps
This plyometric exercise makes a basic squat jump a little bit more difficult as you are adding some weight to the movement. Ensure that the load added is not too heavy to the point it interferes with your ability to complete a good jump.
Begin in a squat rack, with the bar set up to a weight that will allow you to maintain good form.
Set yourself up under the bar as you would for a normal squat with your feet shoulder width apart.
Squat down and power up, jumping off the ground. Land softly and repeat the exercise again.
Exercise #4: BOSU Ball Burpees
Burpees are an excellent full body exercise and the Bosu ball makes them that little bit tougher again to complete.
Begin with a Bosu ball upside down on the ground in front of you. Position yourself in a squat position with your feet distanced shoulder width apart.
Quickly drop into a push up position, pull your knees towards your chest before powering upwards with the Bosu above your head.
Return softly to the floor and straight away complete another rep.
Exercise #5: Plyometric Push-Ups
These are a great way to bring your upper body into play and help build up some upper body strength.
Begin in a basic push up position.
Lower your body to the ground but push up rapidly so that your arms and hands leave the floor by a few inches.
Catch yourself on your hands as you return to the floor and repeat the movement for as many repetitions as required.
Exercise #6: Overhead Throws
Another great exercise that will improve your upper body strength and power!
Begin beside a wall with a medicine ball. Make sure you are able to use this wall to throw the ball against and that it is solid before you start.
Stand about six feet away from the wall holding the ball over your head. Place one leg in front of the other and maintain a slight bend in the knee.
Pull the ball behind your head and powerfully throw it against the wall. Catch the ball after a bounce. This is considered one repetition.
To make this exercise harder you can increase the weight of the ball and the distance from the wall depending on how powerful your throw is. If you haven’t a wall that is safe to throw the ball against, you can throw the ball to a friend instead; just make sure there is enough distance between you to allow them to catch the ball on a bounce so that it does not hit them directly.
Take Home Message
These are some simple plyometric exercises you can try out in your next training session.
Not all gyms have special plyometric boxes so you can improvise with a solid and sturdy bench!