Hammer Plyometrics

In Coaching, Fitness Programs, Reviews by Dale HillLeave a Comment

This jump training workout will use your entire body to create force, speed, and power

Building a strong, sculpted body doesn’t require hours spent working out—just an expert approach. And with The Master’s Hammer and Chisel, seasoned trainers Sagi Kalev and Autumn Calabrese have compiled their best, most efficient techniques into 30- to 40-minute resistance-training workouts to help you craft a powerful, perfectly defined physique in just 60 days.

Throughout the entire 60 days, you’ll focus on Stabilization, Strength, and Power to rapidly build, sculpt, and refine your physique. Combine this training with proven portion-control nutrition-the way Sagi and Autumn do in The Master’s Hammer and Chisel-and you’ll build a body that’s strong, chiseled, and defined.

As I  embark on my own 60-Day Journey with The Master’s Hammer and Chisel, I will be reviewing each workout as they present themselves in the program calendar. I will add my own insights and observations about the workouts; the comments I make are my own as an Independent Certified Personal Trainer and do not necessarily represent the Celebrity Trainers or Beachbody. Full disclosure, I am also an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and a distributor of this program and all other Beachbody products. I hope the information I provide is beneficial in your personal fitness journey.

Hammer Plyometrics735x1102Plyometrics: noun plural but singular or plural in construction plyo·met·rics \ˌplī-ə-ˈme-triks\
1:  exercise involving repeated rapid stretching and contracting of muscles (as by jumping and rebounding) to increase muscle power. plyo·met·ric \-trik\ adjective. [source: Merriam-Webster].  

Plyometrics, or simply “Plyo” workouts are usually referred to as Jump Training and focus on using explosive movements to build strength and power. The main principle behind plyometric exercise are to react with the the ground surface in such a way as to propel your body away from the ground with greater speed, this is also why you’ll hear plyometrics referred to as a “reactive” exercise.

There are three phases to all plyometric exercise which are often described by the state of the muscles during each stage of the movement: Eccentric, Isometric and Concentric. These phases can also be seen as deceleration, stabilization and acceleration.

During the eccentric movement you’re stretching the muscles, loading them in preparation for the move, much like stretching a rubber band.  Potential energy is stored in the elastic components of your muscles. When performing a vertical jump as in the first exercise of this workout, the eccentric phase consists of squatting down to gather your energy.

Just as when you pull back on a rubber band, there’s a pause when you reach the limits of the band, a point of stabilization. This is the transition phase between harnessing the potential power of the muscle and actually using it. The longer you stay in this transition or isometric phase, the less powerful your final movement will be – the key to generating maximum power is in a rapid transition between the eccentric and concentric movements. Unlike the rubber band, the potential elastic power in your muscles can dissipate the longer you wait to release the power. In our vertical jump example, the isometric phase is the bottom of the squat position.

The concentric phase is what you normally associate with the plyometric move, this is the actual jump or explosive movement – the “unloading” of the muscles. In your vertical jump, this is the push off from the ground. In many plyo moves you’ll engage other muscles to assist the move such as swinging your arms upwards and reaching overhead as you jump.

Your success in everyday life activities (and many sports) is dependent upon your muscle’s ability to generate force; and the general rule is “the quicker the better.” This is a trained response that is limited by the signals sent to your muscles by your brain via the central nervous system. Plyo training helps train and improve your neuromuscular coordination by engaging and exciting your neuromuscular system. The goal is to get the muscles firing faster and generating more power. It’s important to have mastered basic balance and stabilization exercises, developed good core strength, joint stability and have a good overall strength baseline before introducing plyo into your workouts. If you’re just starting out, don’t be afraid to modify movements – learning the proper form and function of the move is essential to preventing injury. As you progress through the movements you can increase your range of motion and speed to increase the level of difficulty.

Now let’s take a look at what equipment you’ll need for this workout and get into each individual movement

The Vertical Jump is one of the best predictors of explosive power and strength in many sports, and contrary to popular belief, it’s not only reserved for basketball players, volleyball players or high jumpers. This move calls on your fast twitch muscle fibers and is a good measure of your ability to “get up and go” or “get out of the blocks”. In sports performance, this is the equivalent of measuring a race car’s ability to go from 0-60. As with all exercises in this round, you will perform the vertical jump for 30 seconds without stopping. Use your whole body, bending the knees and dropping down into a squat then exploding upwards, coordinate your arm swing to raise them over your head and reach as you jump.
Landing is critical, unlike cats, we don’t have the innate abilities to perform soft landings from high heights. Because of this, you have to pay more attention to improving your landing ability through technical training. Land softly (toe, ball, heel) before loading your legs to repeat the movement. Proper landing techniques in all plyometric movements is necessary to avoid injury.

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