Plyometric training is also called jump training due to the amount of hopping and jumping exercises require. The goal of plyometrics is to force your muscles to exert as much force as possible in a short amount of time. This boosts your strength, power, and endurance. To get the most out of plyometric training, you need to select the right plyometric equipment. This article will allow you to choose the right plyometric workout equipment for you, whether you are experienced with this type of exercise or new to the workouts.
Plyometric Box Sets
A box set serves as one of the essential pieces of plyometric exercise equipment. A box set comes with several platforms of different heights and widths. Usually, this plyometric training equipment comes with five or six different boxes. The boxes are stackable for easy storage of the plyometric workout equipment. Each box needs to have several essential elements. They need to have enough friction at the top and bottom to avoid slipping, they need to sit in a completely level position, and they need to have a sturdy steel frame that can take lots of impact. Because the use of this plyometric exercise equipment involves many hard jumps, precision and safety in the design of a box set is extremely important.
Plyometric box sets provide a lot of flexibility in their use. Because they can be shifted and repositioned with ease, an individual can change the distance and direction of a given platform to add extra challenge to an exercise. The fact that the individual boxes are all stackable makes storage of this plyometric training equipment very easy. As an additional benefit to this easy storage, the box sets tend to be very easy to move from one location to another. Plyometric box sets often come in both basic and advanced options. The basic set is great for people who are just getting used to plyometric workout equipment, while the advanced options come with additional boxes that add extra challenge to a workout routine.
Plyometric performance cushions are used in a similar manner to box sets, but provide more give than the standard plyometric boxes. Like other plyometric workout equipment, performance cushions can be mixed and matched to provide different bases and sizes depending on your level of skill with a given exercise. In addition, these cushions usually come with a Velcro strap that allows you to stack multiple cushions on top of each other in order to adjust their height. Performance cushions often require a little more skill than other plyometric workout equipment, since you have to dig deeper in order to get the same energy on a jump. At the same time, these cushions absorb kinetic energy well, allowing you to try harder jumps that might hurt when you come down on a box set.
You can combine performance cushions with other plyometric exercise equipment, although you should probably begin with one set of equipment until you feel comfortable enough to mix and match. These cushions aren’t collapsible, which makes them harder to store than box sets, but they still take up relatively little space. In addition to their absorptive capabilities, one area where they stand out when compared to other plyometric exercise equipment is their versatility. You can use a plyometric performance cushion with upper body activities as well, since you can slam medicine balls and other exercise equipment down on them without worrying about damaging the cushion.
Plyometric hurdles can be used for everything from warm up exercises to jump training. This plyometric exercise equipment comes in varying sizes, from small hurdles that you can step over to hurdles large enough to duck under. In general, the smaller the hurdle, the lighter the exercise. Hurdles that only come up to your calf, for example, are ideal for warm up routines, while hurdles that rise to your knees or thighs might be part of a more complex jumping routine. You can arrange plyometric hurdles in different ways to create simple exercise routines or more complex obstacle courses. Each set of hurdles typically comes with suggestions on how you can use them for different exercises. Some hurdles are even adjustable, allowing you to set up multiple routines with them if you are willing to do a little preparatory work in advance.
Unlike box sets and cushions, you don’t use this plyometric exercise equipment as a platform on which to jump. Instead, plyometric hurdles help provide guidance to make sure that your jumps are high and precise. Beginners can use hurdles to get used to the jumping routines that serve as part of a typical plyometric session, while advanced users can set up the hurdles in specific ways to challenge themselves. If desired, you can combine this plyometric training equipment with box sets, cushions, or other items to create as challenging a routine as you need. You can usually store the hurdles on a single rack, and hurdles from the same set often stack together to minimize the amount of space required for storage.
Even people who have never heard of plyometric exercise have probably engaged in it a little without realizing it. A jump rope is perhaps the most basic plyometric training equipment, and the schoolyard activity of jumping rope served as many people’s first introduction to plyometric training. Used as plyometric training equipment, a jump rope helps to condition the muscles and build stamina. Virtually everybody has a jump rope—even if you don’t, it is very easy and affordable to acquire new rope sets. As you advance from beginning plyometrics to more advanced routines, the jump rope can still serve as an important warmup that gets your heart rate moving while providing you with a basic timing challenge.
While any jump rope can serve effectively for plyometric training, you should consider purchasing a nylon rope for maximum durability and efficiency. Nylon is a lightweight material, so you can swing the rope faster and jump higher. Nylon ropes come with handles that require less arm movement per rotation, allowing you to focus on your jumping routine. If you have a plyometric workout area, you may want to consider adding a hook or rack on which you can store multiple jump ropes. Even without a rack, you can simply wrap the rope up and set it in a cupboard or drawer once you have finished the exercise. Of all the different plyometric training equipment out there, the jump rope is the most basic and one piece of gear that everybody should own.
If you don’t have a lot of room to move during your exercise routine, or if you simply want to build up your core muscles before taking on a more complex plyometric workout routine, a jump trainer may be right for you. Using a combination of weight, platforms, and flexible cable, these trainers allow you to build up your legs and core muscle groups without having to run a full plyometric routine. You can work on one leg at a time with a single leg routine or practice a two-leg routine that allows you to work on both simultaneously. Of all the plyometric exercise equipment out there, jump trainers most resemble traditional leg machines. Some, however, look and function almost like trampolines.
A jump trainer is a great way to build up your muscles to the point where your body can engage in strenuous plyometric routines. If you already have a plyometric routine, these trainers can help you elevate your jumps and improve your balance. They have the advantage of not requiring a lot of setup or taking up much room compared to the multiple boxes and hurdles that other plyometric training equipment requires. However, they cannot easily be stored and usually have to remain set up in a dedicated workout room or gym. Perhaps most significantly, these machines cost a lot of money. This means that you need to either make a significant investment up front or arrange a long-term payment plan. Most people who use plyometric jump trainers do so at a gym, where they don’t have to make as significant a financial investment.
Combining Training Equipment
As mentioned in some of the equipment descriptions above, you can and should combine plyometric training equipment to provide as well-rounded an exercise routine as possible. If you are new to this form of exercise, you might want to start small and build up slowly. As you become more advanced, add new equipment to challenge yourself. If you already know a lot about plyometrics, you might feel more willing to build up a collection of equipment quickly. Even so, always make sure that you will get significant use out of the equipment you buy.
Plyometrics can build up your muscles, improve your cardiovascular health, and leave you feeling great after every exercise. There are a lot of accessories you can get to help you through these exercises, and the information above should help prepare you for an exciting fitness journey.