Thursday, August 23, 2007

Increase Muscular Power

Current Weight: 217 lbs.
Body Fat: 29.5%
Exercise Tip 9: Plyometrics

While increasing muscle power does not directly relate to weight loss, if you are working out in any method in order to gain muscle mass, you will lose weight over time. Plyometrics are designed to increase power, which is strength over time, instead of simply overall strength. What this means is how fast you can contract the muscles. It has been shown that a muscle will contract the fastest when it has been loaded. This is why you should be able to jump higher if you crouch down then immediately jump up than if you started in the crouch.

The best way to increase contraction time is to practice the movement. This is why martial artists perform the same punch thousands of times, to increase the speed of that punch. The same is true of most any sport, the more you practice the movement, the faster the contraction of the muscles can become.

Caution: Consult a physician before engaging in plyometric exercises. The explosive movements involved in plyometric exercises are intense and should only be performed by well-conditioned individuals. Additionally, children who are still growing should not participate in plyometric exercises as explosive, repetitive movements can be damaging to growth plates.

Exercises
Clapping Pushup - Similar to the regular pushup, but push upward so fast as to raise the upper body and hands off the ground, clapping the hands together before returning them to the ground.

Two Foot Ankle Hop - Keeping your feet together and remaining in one place, hop up and down using only your ankles and calves. Concentrate on getting as high as you can and exploding off the ground as soon as you land. Perform on one foot, alternating after each set, for increased difficulty and to also work your balance. Perform with a jump rope for increased difficulty and also to work on your timing and rhythm.

Step Jumps - Using stairs, or sturdy boxes, crates, or even stepping exercise steps, step down from one step then immediate jump back up. Increase the height of the step/box for added difficulty.

High Jumps - Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, then explode upward, reaching with alternating hands. Repeat immediately upon landing.

Sprints - Sprinting is a plyometric exercise, the weight of your body coming down on each step is loading your hamstring.

Medicine Ball Throw - Hold the medicine ball to your chest, then using only your arms, push the ball forward as fast as you can. If you have a partner, pass it back and forth. For added difficulty, start with your backs to one another and twist your body, alternating right and left.

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