Plyometric training has become an increasingly popular form of exercise in recent years, because of its ability to drastically improve the strength and endurance of all major muscle groups in the body.
But what is plyometric training, exactly? Is it anaerobic or aerobic exercise? In this article, we’ll go over what plyometrics are, how they can help you burn fat and build muscle, and whether or not plyometric exercises are anaerobic or aerobic exercises.
Is Plyometric an Anaerobic Exercise?
If you’re familiar with basic biology, you probably already know that what your body does during exercise falls into one of two categories: aerobic or anaerobic (anaerobic refers to without oxygen). That being said, there is some misinformation out there regarding plyometrics and how they impact your body.
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To answer whether plyometrics are anaerobic or aerobic exercises, let’s first take a look at exactly what plyometrics are.
Plyometrics is a form of exercise that involves rapid stretching and contraction of muscles. It’s used by athletes to improve speed, agility, and power. A big misconception regarding plyometrics is that they are primarily aerobic exercises.
In reality, plyometrics targets both your aerobic and anaerobic systems – similar to high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Because of their explosive nature, however, plyometric workouts are typically considered more anaerobic than HIIT.
The truth is that plyometrics are anaerobic exercises because they require your body to produce a large amount of force in a short period of time. Whether you’re doing burpees, box jumps, or sprints, each activity will make your heart race and get you breathing heavily.
And while these workouts can be helpful for burning fat and building muscle (both aerobic benefits), their explosive nature makes them primarily anaerobic exercises.
To further understand why plyometrics are anaerobic exercises, let’s take a look at what happens when you do them.
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When you perform a plyometric workout (say box jumps), your muscles are forced to produce both short and long-term energy – creating what we know as the anaerobic lactic acid buildup. This buildup increases your heart rate and breathing rate, which is why you may be getting more winded with each jump or burpee.
Why is plyometric anaerobic?
Because plyometric movements recruit so many fast-twitch muscle fibers, they require tremendous amounts of energy, aka adenosine triphosphate (ATP), to execute. In fact, since these types of exercises can be done quickly and in rapid succession with little to no rest in between, they’re anaerobic.
Types of plyometric anaerobic exercises
There are 4 main types of plyometric anaerobic exercises:
1. Depth jumps
2. High-intensity shuttle runs
3. Box jumps
4. Drop jumps
While all four exercises hit your central nervous system (CNS) hard and allow you to build explosive power, there are some important differences between them. Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail.
1. Depth jumps
Depth jumps are a great plyometric exercise for building power in your legs. To perform them, you’ll need to find a platform that’s about knee-high. Stand on top of it and then drop down off it as quickly as possible. As soon as you hit the ground, jump back up onto it again and repeat.
2. High-intensity shuttle runs:
The shuttle run is a fun plyometric exercise that improves your ability to change direction quickly. For best results, set up two cones about 5 yards apart. Start in between them and then run as fast as you can from one cone to another over and over again for 10 seconds at a time.
3. Box jumps
To perform a box jump, you’ll need to stand on top of a raised platform, such as a bench or high box. Be sure it’s sturdy and strong enough to hold your weight. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart on top of it. Then leap down off it, quickly landing in a squat position and immediately jumping up again. Don’t forget to bring your hands above your head when you jump so that you can hit peak height more easily!
4. Drop jumps
A drop jump is similar to a box jump, except that you don’t have anything to stand on. Instead, you’ll need to find a platform about knee-high and then start from ground level. As with a box jump, make sure it’s sturdy enough to support your weight before starting each set. This time, however, you should approach it from one side.
Benefits of plyometric anaerobic exercises
- Plyometric anaerobic exercises offer many benefits that can improve exercise performance, including increased strength and power, increased explosiveness, and improved speed and agility.
- They are also a great way to increase cardiorespiratory fitness and endurance.
- Plyometric anaerobic exercises are safe for most people to perform, even those with pre-existing medical conditions or injuries.
- They can be performed virtually anywhere, making them a great option for athletes of all levels.
- Finally, plyometric anaerobic exercises are highly effective in improving overall conditioning and fitness level.
In conclusion, plyometric anaerobic exercises are a great way to improve your speed, power, and agility. There are many different types of plyometric anaerobic exercises that you can do, so find one that fits your needs and start seeing results!