Fitness

13 Easy Plyometric Exercises To Add To Your Routine

Run faster and jump higher.

Easy plyometric exercises to try.
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If you’re looking for easy plyometric exercises, look no further than moves that have you hop, skip, or jump. Think jump squats, jumping jacks, jumping rope, or any other move that has a bit more impact. Mountain climbers also count as plyometric training, because the move requires you to give it your all.

It all counts as plyo, aka “exercises specifically designed to help an individual jump higher and run faster,” says Dr. Kellen Scantlebury, a doctor of physical therapy and CEO of Fit Club NY. “This is accomplished through quick, ballistic movements that require maximum — or close to maximum — effort for short bursts.”

By moving quickly through an exercise, you effectively train your type II muscle fibers. “These are the muscle fibers that are our fast-twitch muscle fibers, and specifically help with explosive power,” Scantlebury says. This is why athletes tend to include plyometric exercises in their training routines, adds trainer Rob Wagener. “The benefits of plyometric training include increased strength and improved heart health, as well as improved agility and coordination,” he says.

Because it’ll also increase your heart rate, plyometric exercises tend to be a good mood booster, says Ellen Thompson, a certified personal trainer with Blink Fitness. But because they’re high-impact and require a lot of effort, Thompson recommends only doing plyo once or twice a week to reduce your risk of injury. Here are some easy plyometric exercises to add to your routine.

Lunge Jumps

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Not feeling the most coordinated? No worries. Practice a simple lunge jump and you’ll eventually improve your agility, says Thompson.

- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands clasped in front of your chest.

- Step your left leg back behind you and slowly lower into a lunge, with knees bent at right angles.

- Engage your quads and glutes, brace your core, then push through your feet to jump up.

- Drive your arms behind you and squeeze your glutes.

- While in the air, switch legs so that you land with your right leg behind you.

- Alternate legs as you jump.

- Do five reps on each leg. Aim for three to six sets.

Speed Skaters

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Speed skaters are also pretty easy to get the hang of. Thompson recommends these if you play sports that require side-to-side agility.

- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands clasped in front of your chest.

- Bend your knees slightly to do a mini-squat.

- Lift your left leg off the ground. Engage your glutes, brace your core, and hop to the left by pushing off your right foot.

- Drive your arms behind you as you leave the ground and squeeze the glutes.

- When you land on your right leg, sweep your left foot behind you.

- Jump back the other way and alternate sides.

- Do five reps on each side. Aim for three to six sets.

Jump Squats

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You probably already know how to squat. To make it plyometric, think about adding a little jump at the end. As Thompson says, this move will help train your glutes and quads so you feel more powerful when doing other types of exercise.

- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands clasped in front of your chest.

- Slowly lower yourself into a squat, bringing the hips parallel.

- Engage your glutes, brace your core, and jump straight up by pushing your feet into the ground.

- Drive your arms back behind you and squeeze your glutes.

- Land with both feet hip-width apart again.

- Jump right back up and continue the squat/jump motion.

- Do five reps. Aim for three to six sets.

Jump Rope

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Jumping rope is another easy way to squeeze in some plyometric training, says Sandra Gail Frayna, a physical therapist and founder of Hudson Premier Physical Therapy & Sports. Exercises like jumping rope help improve movement absorption, mobility, strength, power, and balance, she tells Bustle.

- Jump rope at a quick pace for seven to 10 minutes.

- Repeat for three sets.

Burpees

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Ah, yes. The classic (and somewhat dreaded) burpee. According to Frayna, a set of burpees will boost your endurance and improve overall strength, while also making you sweat.

- Start in a squat position.

- Quickly move down into a high plank by planting your hands and jumping your feet back.

- Reverse the motion by jumping back to your feet.

- If you want, add a mini jump and reach up.

- Repeat this motion five to seven times. Do three sets.

Box Jumps

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“This is a quintessential move for plyometric workouts as it exemplifies using force and power to jump up onto the box,” Frayna says.

- Place a small (about 15 to 20 inch) plyo box in front of you.

- Stand with feet hip-width apart.

- Bend your knees to build momentum, then jump up onto the box with both feet.

- Swing your arms in front of you as you land squarely.

- Jump back to the floor with both feet. Land softly in a quarter squat again.

- Repeat five times. Do three sets.

Stair Running

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According to Scantlebury, stair running — especially while skipping every other step — is another good choice for beginners. “It is actually a single-leg plyometric exercise that is performed in an alternating fashion: left leg and then right leg,” he tells Bustle.

- Run up a flight of stairs as fast as you can.

- Skip every other step.

- One flight equals one round.

- Run five founds with 30 seconds of rest between rounds.

Jumping Jacks

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Wagener recommends jumping jacks to improve your strength, heart health, and endurance. “They’re an excellent option for beginners and the experienced alike,” he says. “You are guaranteed to get the heart rate up and the sweat flowing as a full-body workout experience.”

- Stand with your feet together and your hands at your sides.

- Jump up and spread your legs to the side while simultaneously bringing your arms up over your head.

- Return to the starting position and repeat.

- Aim for 20 to 30 reps. Do five total sets.

- You can also do three sets of one minute each with one-minute rest between.

Butt Kicks

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To increase agility and power, Wagener recommends a simple “butt kick” exercise.

- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.

- Kick your right heel up towards your glutes, then quickly bring it back to the starting position.

- Repeat with the left leg and continue.

- Alternate for 10 to 20 reps. Do three total sets.

Chest Throws

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Thompson recommends chest throws to get your arms in on the action. “This exercise is great for those who are focusing on functional strength and want the power to move furniture or objects around the house with more ease,” she tells Bustle.

- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

- Keep your chest high as you hold a medicine ball close in front of you.

- Brace your core as you quickly extend your arms and release the ball to create power in the chest and triceps.

- Do five reps. Repeat three to six sets.

Reverse Lunge Knee-Ups

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Fitness trainer Polina Andre says this move targets your glutes and quads, and also makes your knees stronger — another perk of high-impact plyometric workouts.

- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

- Take a big step backward. As your foot touches the floor, bend both knees into a reverse lunge position.

- Engage your muscles and keep your torso up.

- Shift your weight to the front leg and at the same lift the back leg and bring it forward to meet your chest.

- Alternate legs.

- Do 12 reps for each leg. Aim for three sets.

Mountain Climbers

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Another classic, Andre recommends mountain climbers to build your stamina plus full-body strength.

- Start in a high plank with arms straight.

- Bring your right knee to your right elbow.

- Set your foot back down.

- Bring your left knee to your left elbow.

- Start to increase your speed.

- Do 40 reps total. Repeat three sets.

Clapping Push-Ups

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Ready for a challenge? Try clapping push-ups. “This exercise is great for those who are looking to increase their upper body strength,” Thompson says. And once you give it a try, you’ll see why.

- Start in a push-up position. (Keep your knees down to make it easier.)

- Slowly lower yourself to the ground into a push-up.

- Once the pecs and triceps are engaged, brace your core and do a push-up.

- At the top of your push-up, lift your hands and quickly clap them together.

- Do five reps. Repeat for three to six sets.

Studies referenced:

Bogdanis, GC. 2018. Muscle Fiber and Performance Changes after Fast Eccentric Complex Training. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2018 Apr;50(4):729-738. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001507.

Willadsen, EM. 2019. What Is the Most Effective Training Approach for Preventing Noncontact ACL Injuries in High School-Aged Female Athletes? J Sport Rehabil. doi: 10.1123/jsr.2017-0055.

Sources:

Dr. Kellen Scantlebury, doctor of physical therapy

Rob Wagener, trainer

Ellen Thompson, certified personal trainer

Sandra Gail Frayna, physical therapist

Polina Andre, fitness trainer