Plyometrics are drills designed to connect strength with speed to produce power. Also known as "jump training," this technique emerged in Eastern Europe in the early 1970s. Coined by American track coach Fred Wilt, the term derives from the Latin plyo + metrics, or "measurable increases." Plyometric training relates to any activity that requires speed and strength, as it improves your ability to run faster, jump higher, and maneuver in multidirectional sports. If your game involves a court, field, track, mat, pool, ring, rink, or mountain, Plyometrics can help.My game actually involves crayon drawings that move a red ball to a yellow star, so Plyometrics isn't likely to give me a boost there. Hopefully, however, it'll help me with stamina, balance, power and speed, which is sure to come in handy the next time I'm at the airport. (Remember O.J. leaping over all sorts of shit in the airport? Pre-homicide? That was all plyo, baby.)
I found P90X's Plyometrics workout to be incredibly difficult. The combination of various twists and jumps and squats and lunges made my bad knee ache, not to mention by glutes and hammies. To top it off, I'm terrible at anything that involves hand-eye (or leg-eye) coordination. Pushing and pulling exercises? I'm good to go. Jumping and spinning? Not so much.
My heart was pounding through my sternum during most of the workout -- my heart rate monitor beeped incessantly to remind me to get my heart rate back down. Thankfully, there were a few strategically placed (but oh-so-brief) pauses between exercises when Tony Horton explained the next bit of crazy twisting lunge-jumping.
Here's the list of plyo exercises in the workout -- and just like with Chest & Back, each exercise is repeated at various intervals during the hour-long program:
- Jump Squats for 30 seconds - At the lowest point in your squat, explode up by leaping off the ground.
- Run Stance Squats for 30 seconds - Start in a running stance, squat four times, and then leap up, twist and land facing the opposing direction. Repeat until the 30 seconds are up, or until you vomit.
- Airborne Heismans for 30 seconds - Laterally leap into the Heisman Trophy pose over and over again, from side to side, kicking your knee up to your chest.
- Swing Kicks for 60 seconds - Kick each leg up over and across a stool for one minute.
- Squat Reach Jumps for 30 seconds - Squat, touching the floor with your fingertips, and explode up into a jump with your hands reaching up as high as possible.
- Run Stance Squat Switch Pick Ups for 30 seconds - I'm too exhausted writing down the name of this exercise to even begin to describe what it is.
- Double Airborne Heismans for 30 seconds - Just like the Airborne Heismans but with a couple of lateral high-knee tire steps in between poses.
- Circle Run for 60 seconds - Run in a tight circle while keeping your head and shoulders in the same place.
- Jump Knee Tucks for 30 seconds - Jump up, pulling your knees to your chest. Do it again and again and again.
- Mary Katherine Lunges for 30 seconds - Named after Molly Shannon's deranged, armpit-sniffing Catholic schoolgirl character on SNL, this involves doing a forward lunge and then leaping straight up and landing in the opposite lunge position. And repeating this until your legs feel like they're being torn off.
- Leapfrog Squats for 30 seconds - Wide leg squats and jumps.
- Twist Combos for 60 seconds - Jump around, spinning your body back and forth 180 degrees.
- Rock Star Hops for 30 seconds - Jump, tucking heels to butt (and playing air guitar unnecessarily).
- Gap Jumps for 30 seconds - Leap forward as far as possible, and then leaping back.
- Squat Jacks for 30 seconds - Jumping jacks, only landing in a squat position instead of with straight legs.
- Military Marches for 60 seconds - I feel like this is the only exercise that's intended as a break -- you march in place slowly, lifting your legs until they're perpendicular to your body. This is also the only plyo exercise I can see my dad doing.
- Run Squat 180 Jump Switches for 30 seconds - Squat and leap up, switching legs and landing in the opposite squat position. Repeat ad nauseam.
- Lateral Leapfrog Squats - Same as leapfrog squats, but the jumps are done laterally instead of backwards and forwards.
- Monster Truck Tire Jumps fro 30 seconds - Four alternating single-leg high-knee jumps forward, and four back. Repeat.
- Hot Foot Jumps for 60 seconds - Hop on one foot for what seems like an eternity.
- Pitch & Catch for 60 seconds - Something I did for hours for fun when I was a kid, but hated doing at the end of an hour of plyo this morning: Pretend to pitch a baseball over and over again.
- Jump Shots for 60 seconds - Similar to above; pretend to catch and shoot a basketball.
- Football Hero for 60 seconds - I think this is Tony Horton's interpretation of a celebratory touchdown dance.
According to my heart rate monitor, I burned 720 calories.
88 more days to go...