3 Tips for Using Weights for Plyometrics
Burpees not bringing on the pain anymore? It happens, especially if you've been smashing out this signature plyometric move for awhile now. Plyometrics use powerful, explosive movements to build more lean muscle, increase performance and enhance caloric burn, so the good news is that if they’ve become too easy, you're likely in amazing shape! The bad news is a fitness plateau is likely imminent. Plateaus happen when your body (and often, also your mind) gets used to your workouts. It's no longer challenged, and as a result, the gains stop coming. We get it: this can be discouraging AF, especially 'cause you've worked your ass off to get where you are.
What to do?
One of the best ways to take your HIIT workout to the next level is to add some weight to those plyometric moves. Added resistance will help you build even more lean muscle mass, torch more fat and bust through those pesky plateaus. But be warned: adding heavy weight to ballistic movements like plyometrics can be a recipe for disaster if you don't take proper precautions. That's what we're going to talk about here: how to add weights to your plyometrics, safely.
But first, if you’ve never done plyometrics, read this, then meet us back here. We’ll wait.
Tip #1: Master the Move, Unloaded
Before you can do a jump squat with a weighted vest, make sure you can do the move perfectly with no added weight. Practice, practice, practice until it's relatively easy, then, think about loading up.
Whoa — BACK UP: Never done plyometrics before, period? Then definitely don't start doing them with weights! Respect the evolution of movement. Before burpees, there are push-ups and planks. Before jump squats, bodyweight squats. Before switch lunges, lunges. This seems self-explanatory, but start at the beginning! Don't watch some dude on the 'gram do a plate loaded plyo-push-up and decide you're going to start there. Injury will be almost unavoidable.
Tip #2: Learn from a Pro
You don't have to hire a personal trainer at a gym, but when it comes to adding resistance and plyos to your workout, it's a good idea to at least reference a professional for guidance. We're certainly happy to help! You can watch any of our workouts on SweatFlix to get thousands of free workouts — including those plyo workouts. You can also try this amazing plyo step workout we've designed for all fitness levels to facilitate lean muscle gains and fat loss.
Tip #3: Start Low
This tip applies to all resistance training, really. While you want to challenge yourself, you don't want to injure yourself. So, if your new BodyBar just arrived in the mail and you're itching to load up for your next plyo move, take a deep breath, and ease off. Try the move with just the bar, at first — no plates. Make sure you can maintain form throughout the entire range of motion of the movement. For example, with a jump squat: can you keep your chest lifted and spine long and flat with the bar on your shoulders. Can you still get down low into the squat, keeping the weight in your heels? Are you still centered in the movement?
This is what a jump squat should look like.
If it doesn't look like this, then don't load up until it does.
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