Maximise The Benefits of Plyometrics Training | Men’s Health Singapore

08 May
Plyometrics are a great training tool for athletes. Originally called jump training, these exercises allow muscles to produce maximal force as rapidly as possible. They can be as simple as skipping or as challenging as jumping onto boxes or hurling a medicine ball for distance. Whatever form they take, the goal is the same: to produce power by linking strength with speed.

The results you get from plyometrics come with a price. Although they don’t look particularly taxing, these exercises present an all-out challenge to your muscles, joints, connective tissues, and central nervous sys­tem. Before you even consider adding them to your workouts, heed these guidelines.

1. Make Sure You’re In Decent Shape
The standard advice is to forget lower-body jumps until you can squat 1½ times your body weight; and to avoid upper-body plyos until you can bench-press your weight. To us, that advice seems like a Catch-22—you must be strong before you’re allowed to develop power. Look at kids: They don’t need training to skip and jump. They do it all day, every day. It’s an important part of their development. Could the average 20-kilo kindergartner squat 30 kilos or bench 20? We doubt it. Let’s modify the standard advice and say you should build a base of strength and fitness before you turn to plyometrics. We think a solid year of strength training should do it.

2. Respect Pre-existing Injuries
Make sure your injuries have healed before you do plyometrics that affect those areas. With some chronic knee and lower-back injuries, you may not be able to do plyometrics at all without risking further damage. (Same with wrist injuries, in the case of plyometric pushups.)

3. Do Plyometrics First In Your Workouts

That means after warmups and stretching, but before strength or aerobic exercises. In an ideal sit­uation, strength and aerobics should be done on one day, plyometrics on another, warmup and stretching every time you workout. If that’s not an option, do plyometrics before strength and/or aerobics work.

4. Rest 2 to 3 days Between Plyometric Workouts

Beginners and those over age 40 may want to budget even more time for recovery. You want your muscles and connective tissues to grow stronger between workouts, and that requires full recovery from one workout to the next.

5. Keep Reps Relatively Low

Try for 6 to 10 per set.

6. Rest 2 to 3 minutes Between Sets

But stay on your feet. Stretch or walk around in between sets. Don’t sit and allow your muscles to stiffen.

7. Keep Volume Low

Plyometric volume is usually measured in foot contacts, rather than in reps. The term means exactly what you think it means, although one foot landing counts as 1 contact, while two feet landing at the same time also counts as 1 contact. That’s because your body—particularly your lower back—feels contact no matter how many Nikes hit the turf. Beginners should limit themselves to 60 to 80 foot contacts per workout. Advanced guys can go as high as 150 to 200, with intermediates in between.

8. Get Off The Ground

Minimize ground time and maximize air time. As soon as you land from one jump, immediately explode into the next one. Height isn’t as important as speed.

9. Use Ground That Gives

Your backyard or a nearby field is an ideal place to do plyometrics. A carpeted floor can also work in a pinch.

10. Progress From Easiest to Hardest

Just as you started strength lifting with the simplest exercises—crunches, pushups, biceps curls—and then progressed to the challenging stuff, you should also start plyos with simple standing jumps before moving onward and upward.


Source: Maximise The Benefits of Plyometrics Training | Men’s Health Singapore

What are Plyometrics and Why Should You Do Them? | The Beachbody Blog

01 May

In the simplest definition, plyometrics refers to jump training. A key component of many sports, such as basketball, soccer, and tennis, plyometric training can enhance athleticism, strengthen the most powerful muscles in your body, and more.

Here’s a breakdown of the benefits of plyometric exercises, and how to safely add them to your workout routine.

The Benefits of Plyometrics

In order to propel your body off the ground and land safely, a lot has to happen in your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. “Plyometric training targets your type II (a.k.a. fast twitch) muscle fibers, which are the largest, strongest, and most powerful in your body,” explains Trevor Thieme, C.S.C.S., Beachbody’s Fitness and Nutrition Content Manager. “It doesn’t matter whether you are a seasoned lifter or a strength-training newbie—studies show that plyometrics can help you build muscle as effectively as conventional weightlifting, and that combining the two can help you reach your goals faster than focusing on either one alone.”

Not only that, the impact your body absorbs from landing has benefits for your bones, spurring them to become denser. And if you’re an athlete, plyometrics can improve your agility and explosiveness when it comes to fast-response moves, such as sprinting, quickly changing direction on the field or court, and, of course, jumping (say, to rebound in basketball).

How to Get Started With Plyometrics

If you’re new to plyometrics, as with anything you should start small. This is especially important for plyometric exercises because correct form is so crucial, as you need to both lift your body off the ground and control the landing.

This dual-action makes plyo exercises more difficult and complex than most exercises. If you have a movement dysfunction, it will be magnified when the speed and power of a jump is applied to it.

Thieme suggests incorporating plyometric training into your workout plan by adding a plyo element to exercises with which you’re already familiar. “So you might do the jump squat instead of a conventional squat, or the split jump to compliment a conventional lunge,” he says.

When learning a new plyometric move, you can first perform it without the jump to get a handle on the form, strength, and stability that is required to do it correctly. Once you have all of that, you can then add the jumping movement.

Another way to start small is to choose lower-impact plyo exercises, such as jumping jacks, jumping rope, skaters (hopping side to side from one foot to the other), and even some martial arts or boxing activities that involve punching and kicking.

And don’t ignore the upper body: plyo pushups (where you “jump” your hands up on the press, either off the floor, an incline surface, or even the wall) and medicine ball throws are great for building explosive power above the waist. Just always be aware of your form. When you become tired, form tends to suffer, and risk of injury increases.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t do plyometric exercises?

The short answer is no, as long as your doctor hasn’t identified a reason why you shouldn’t (such as deteriorating joints or bad knees). However, “if you’re significantly overweight, add plyometric exercises to your training plan gradually, and stay away from high-impact moves like box jumps entirely,” says Thieme. “Doing too much, too soon—or doing advanced exercises before you’re ready for them—can stress your joints, increasing your risk of injury.”

Try These 5 Plyometric Exercises

Although many people think of plyometric exercises as a lower-body workout, they can target your upper body as well. Here’s a representative sample of plyometric exercises that effectively work many of the body’s large muscles. To absorb some of the impact of these plyo moves, consider using a plyometrics mat.

Alternating step jumps

Stand tall with your arms by your sides and your left foot on a bench so that your hip, knee, and ankle are all bent 90 degrees. Keeping your chest up, shoulders back, and core braced, drive through your left foot while swinging your arms up and pushing your body up with enough force for the left foot to leave the bench. Switch feet in the air, landing with your right foot on the bench, and your left foot on the floor. Continue alternating legs with each rep.

Plyo push-ups

Assume a plank position with your feet together (or separated slightly), your body straight from head to heels, and your hands in line with (but slightly wider than) your shoulders. Squeeze your glutes and brace your core to lock your body into position. Keeping your elbows tucked against your ribs, lower your torso until your chest is within a few inches of the floor. Pause, and then push up with enough force for your hands to leave the ground. Land softly, and transition immediately into your next rep.

Skater jumps (from 21 Day Fix–Plyo Fix)

Start with your right leg slightly bent and your left foot tucked behind it. Push off your right leg to move your body to the left, landing on your left leg, and tucking your right leg behind it. Continue the lateral jumps, landing softly and with bent knees each time.

Wide in & out abs (from INSANITY–Max Interval Plyo)

Assume a plank position with your hands in line with (but slightly wider than) your shoulders, and your feet wider than hip distance. Squeeze your glutes and brace your core to keep your body in a straight line. Keeping your hands on the ground, jump your feet in to come under your hips, keeping the feet shoulder width apart. Then, jump back to the starting position.

Scissor kick jumps (from P90X3–AgilityX)

Stand on your right leg, with your left leg lifted straight out in front of your body. Moving to the left, jump to your left leg, lifting your right leg straight out in front of your body. Switch once more to your right leg, and then once more to your left leg. Then reverse the direction jumping to your right, still alternating legs.

Source: What are Plyometrics and Why Should You Do Them? | The Beachbody Blog

Olympian Training: Sergio Oliva Workout | Generation Iron

01 May

Generation Iron Sergio Oliva Workout

[ed: Originally published January 26, 2015 at]

“The Myth” Ultimate Workout Routine:

Three time Olympia champion and staunch rival of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sergio Oliva was truly a pioneer of the sport. The Myth was one of the most influential bodybuilders of his time and considered an all time great by fans and peers alike. Sergio, along with Arnold, was considered to be one of the largest bodybuilders of his day and achieved great size and mass while having great definition and maintain a tapered midsection.


Mondays for Oliva consisted of bench pressing supersetted with chin ups and dumbbell flyes supersetted with dips. This day worked the chest and back with a bit of triceps thrown in for good measure.

Set 1 – Bench Press 200 lbs 8 reps, Chin ups 15 reps
Set 2 – Bench Press 220 lbs 8 reps, Chin ups 15 reps
Set 3 – Bench Press 260 lbs 8 reps, Chin ups 10 reps
Set 4 – Bench Press 300 lbs 8 reps, Chin ups 10 reps
Set 5 – Bench Press 320 lbs 8 reps, Chin ups8 reps
Set 6 – Bench Press 350 lbs 8 reps, Chin ups 8 reps
Set 7 – Bench Press 380 lbs 8 reps, Chin ups 5 reps

DB Flyes supersetted with Dips:
5 sets, 15 reps 80 lbs dumbbells, supersetted with dipping. The exact amount of dips Sergio performed was not provided.


Oliva would work his shoulders, biceps, and triceps on Tuesdays. He wouldn’t exceed more than 200 pounds during his lifts.

Shoulder Press – 5 sets, 15 reps with 200 lbs
Extending Heavy Curls – 5 sets, 5 reps, 200 lbs
French Curls – 5 sets, 5 reps, 200 lbs
Scott (Curls) Bench – 5 sets, 10 reps, 150 lbs
Scott (Curls) Bench (with Dumbbells) – 5 sets, 5 reps, 60 lbs dumbbell
Sitting Down Triceps – 5 sets, 5 reps 60 lbs dumbbell, supersetted with Tricep Press Downs


A Wednesday session consisted of ab work plus hamstring and calf exercise. Sergio utilized the squat to work his hamstrings and standing heel raises. This day illustrates just how old school Sergio’s training regimen was.

Situps – 10 sets, 50 reps
Leg Raises – 5 sets, 20 reps
Side Bends (Bar Behind Neck) – 5 sets, 200 reps
Squats – 300 lbs 5 reps, 400 lbs 5 reps, 440 lbs 5 reps, 470 lbs 5 reps, 500 lbs 4 reps
Standing Heel Raises (300 pounds) – 10 sets, 8 reps


This was a chest and back day for Sergio, but he also included shoulder work on this day as well.

Bench Press – 200 lbs 5 reps, 220 lbs 5 reps, 260 lbs 5 reps, 300 lbs 5 reps, 320 lbs 5 reps, 350 lbs 5 reps, 380 lbs 5 reps
Press Behind Neck – 5 sets, 5 reps, 250 lbs, supersetted with Rowing Machine, 200 lbs
Sitting Press (with Dumbbells) – 80 pound dumbbells (no set and rep breakdown given)
Dipping Bar – 5 sets, 8 reps with no weight


Fridays consisted of arm workouts as well as back. Though the poundage may have remained the same, Sergio decreased the volume of sets on this day.

Press – 3 sets, 5 reps, 200 lbs
Extending Heavy Curls – 3 sets, 5 reps, 200 lbs
French Curls – 3 sets, 5 reps, 200 lbs
Scott Bench for Triceps – 3 sets, 5 reps, 200 lbs
Scott Bench for Triceps with Dumbbell – 3 sets, 5 reps, 50 lbs dumbbell, supersetted with Tricep Press Downs
Chinning Behind Neck – 5 sets, 5 reps
Chinning Bar with Closed Hands – 5 sets, 5 reps, supersetted with Tricep Machine Pull Downs


Sergio would do another ab and leg day on Saturdays. Like Wednesdays he used squats to work his legs, utilized as an overall lower body work out for his quads and hamstring. Sergio was also sure to add front squats to the routine as well and instead of standing heel raises he performed the raises seated.

Situps – 5 sets, 10 reps
Leg Raises – 5 sets, 10 reps
Side Bends with Bar Behind Neck – 5 sets, 50 reps
Squats- 3 sets, 3 reps with 300 lbs; 2 sets, 3 reps with 400 lbs; 3 sets, 20 reps with 250 lbs
Front Squats. 5 sets, 10 reps, 200 lbs
Sitting Heel Raises. 5 sets, 5 reps, 200 lbs

Train like the Olympia great and build up your body to mythic proportions. Let us know what you think of the routine in the comments below and follow [ed: Generation Iron] on Facebook and Twitter to give us some of your own routines.

Cover photo courtesy of


Source: Olympian Training: Sergio Oliva Workout | Generation Iron

Complacency Kills: Get Your Mind Right | IronMag Bodybuilding Blog

Plyometrics - Perfect Total Fitness
25 Apr

by Matt Weik (originally featured on

For the sake of this article, we will be referring to your overall health and fitness results—but this topic can transition over to just about any aspect of your life from your job, business, personal life, home life, etc. The topic at hand is complacency and what it means to your success when it comes to health and fitness. It’s a shame that we even need to talk about this, but unfortunately, all of us see complacency around us on a daily basis—some cases it might be the man in the mirror.

Slacking with your workouts

It’s easy to get yourself off track and never hop back on the train. You might have good intentions on realigning with your goals, but most people never truly get back to where they need to be. We live in a society where, unfortunately, it’s acceptable to be obese or worse, morbidly obese. We don’t want to hurt people’s feelings by calling them overweight or fat. As soon as you say something it’s as if you were some sort of homegrown terrorist plotting a mass genocide on a whole demographic of overweight individuals and that you’re some horrible person. It’s actually quite sad when you think about it.

But, complacency forms bad habits. And once those bad habits are formed, it’s tough to break them. Maybe you were working out five days a week, then went down to three days a week, then one, and eventually you stopped all together. I get it, our lives are busy. We are always on the go. We have families to take care of. We work long hours. I get it. I’m there with you. I run a business, I have a wife, I have a son, I exercise daily, and I am still able to focus on my nutrition. Is it easy? No. But it’s worth it in my opinion. However, I could easily slack off and put on ten pounds of fat without batting an eye by not being active and consuming the wrong food choices. Complacency breeds complacency. It’s a downward spiral.

Think about your workouts for a second. Have you ever just not felt strong so you lowered all of your weights for the week? Then the following week you still didn’t feel like pushing yourself, so you lowered your intensity and drive again? All of a sudden, before you know it your strength is gone and the weights you were once pushing are out of sight now. You need to get your mind right and stay in the fight. When your mentality shifts and you take your foot off the pedal, you’re bound to start slowing down unless you dig deep and slam that pedal through the floor. The days that you don’t feel like doing anything are the days you need to double down and get after it and stay focused. Those are the days that will build and shape who you are and your mental strength.

Loosening up on your nutrition

The IIFYM (if it fits your macros) crew will want to debate me on this as they work their nutrition around whatever foods they want to consume—but, for the majority of the people, they aren’t following an IIFYM lifestyle or nutrition plan. There’s nothing wrong with IIFYM, it’s just some of the individuals don’t truly grasp the concept and think they can eat McDonald’s at every meal so long as they don’t go over their calories for the day. Unfortunately, all calories are not created equal. This in itself can be its own article.

People for whatever reason decide to give into temptation. The strong-willed will easily jump back on the horse before they completely fall off. However, most people end up falling off the horse and get stuck in the mud. One day of bad eating becomes two days which becomes a week, and then weeks later they are feeling like Fat Bastard from Austin Powers. Does that make them change their tune? Nope. Why? Because that’s our society today. No one is going to say anything about their weight. And so the downward spiral continues.

Too many people use food to deal with stress and emotions. Not many people look at food as fuel for both the mind and the body. When individuals are upset, they generally turn to something sweet like cake, ice cream, candy, etc. Some turn to alcohol, which in itself adds up quickly when you partake in more than one beverage. It’s “accepted” in today’s society. Think I’m missing the mark? Look to your left and to your right. All of those people are in shape and healthy, right? Hardly. They have fallen into their own complacency trap.

Everyone has good intentions of exercising and eating a well-balanced diet, yet very few follow through with it. When you surround yourself with the wrong crowd, it’s easy to follow the flock. When you are weak-minded (or easily influenced), the last thing you want to do is hang out with people who will change your behaviors. If you’re exercising regularly and eating healthy foods, these individuals aren’t going to want you to succeed. They want to drag you down to their level to make themselves feel better. They feel uncomfortable around you when you’re fit because that’s something they strive to look like, yet they don’t have the will-power to execute.

Complacency kills

When you start feeling comfortable with where you are is when you will start seeing yourself taking steps backwards. When you feel satisfied is when you will slip up. Challenge yourself every day to hold strong and weather the storm no matter what comes your way. When you’re head-strong and motivated to not only hit your goals, but to surpass them is when you will see results.

Don’t settle for average and follow what everyone else does. Those individuals are complacent. They are the sheep while you should be the wolf. They are happy with how they look and feel (but shouldn’t), they are happy with barely getting by with their career, they are ok with the amount of money sitting in the bank, they are satisfied with their relationships at home. These people are only fooling themselves. They just don’t want to put in the work—because it’s difficult and time consuming. It requires an effort. It’s just as easy to say “the hell with it” as it is to make it happen and succeed. The only decision you need to make is the direction you want to go.

Source: Complacency Kills: Get Your Mind Right | IronMag Bodybuilding Blog

6 Plyometrics Exercises for a Quick Total-Body Workout

24 Apr

6 Plyometrics Exercises for a Better Workout in Less Time

6 Plyometrics Exercises for a Better Workout in Less Time

Photo: Pond5

Plyometrics — or high-intensity exercises that stretch and then quickly shorten your muscles (think jump squats or plyo push-ups) — are already known for their quick calorie-blasting, body-toning results. “The technique was originally designed to develop explosive speed and power in Olympic athletes, but the benefits extend out to the average Joe and Jane in both body and mind,” says Adam Rosante, NYC-based trainer and creator of the popular bodyweight interval workout WaveShape.

“The intensity of firing up your big muscle groups with such speed sends your heart rate through the roof and burns a ton of fat.” Plus, Rosante explains, when your brain is forced to process the mechanical speed required of plyo moves, it has the potential to improve overall cognitive function.

But there’s better news yet: There may be an even more efficient way to do this powerhouse type of workout.

Plyometrics Exercises: The Power of Cluster Sets

Though many people stick to the standard two or three sets of 10 to 15 reps, flipping that format on its head might actually improve your performance, according to a new study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Exercisers who did cluster sets — 10 sets of shorter reps ranging from only two to five — were able to jump higher and reach greater takeoff velocity during their workout, which could result in more explosive power.

The sweet spot is sets of three to five reps, found Lee E. Brown, Ph.D., study coauthor and director of the Center for Sport Performance at California State University in Fullerton. Do fewer than that and you can’t maximize the eccentric (or muscle-lengthening) phase of the movement, which will lessen your velocity. Go for more than five and you’ll get too fatigued to maintain your max jump height. It’s important to note that ample rest is also key to helping you reach maximum power and jump height throughout every rep, says Brown. Aiming for 30 to 45 seconds between sets allows you to start each set feeling fresh.

Want to know what cluster sets feel like? We had Rosante design the following plan, a mix of moves to tone your entire body and rev your heart rate in no time. Do 10 sets of three to five reps of each move — using momentum from the previous rep to drive speed and power — and rest 30 seconds between sets.

Your Quick Plyometrics Workout in 6 Moves

6 Plyometrics Exercises for a Quick Total-Body Workout

Photo: Twenty20

1. Plank Squats

How to: Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and begin to lower the body, keeping your weight in your heels as if you’re sitting back into a chair, until thighs are parallel or close to parallel with the floor (a). In one fast motion, drop the hands to the floor and jump your feet back to a plank position, making sure the body remains in a straight line from head to toe (b). Immediately jump your feet back to the squat position to complete one rep (c).

2. Plyometric Push-Ups

How to: Start in a plank position with wrists directly under the shoulders, body in a straight line from head to toe (a). Lower your chest to the floor and then push up explosively with enough force for your hands to leave the floor for a second, and then land softly (b).

3. Broad Jumps

How to: Stand with feet hip-width apart and begin to lower the body, keeping your weight in your heels as if you’re sitting back into a chair, stopping just before your thighs are parallel with the floor (a). Jump up as high as you can and forward, and focus on landing softly on your feet (b). Immediately return to the quarter-squat position and repeat (c).

4. X-Overs

How to: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and begin to lower your body, keeping your weight in your heels as if you’re sitting back into a chair until thighs are parallel with the floor (a). Jump straight up explosively and as your feet leave the floor, cross your right leg in front of your left, then uncross so you land with feet shoulder-width apart to complete one rep (b). Immediately lower back into the squat and repeat, this time crossing the opposite leg in front.

5. 180 Jump Squats

How to: Stand with feet hip-width apart and begin to lower your body, keeping your weight in your heels as if you’re sitting back into a chair, stopping just before your thighs are parallel with the floor (a). Jump up, turning your body 180 degrees mid-air, in order to land facing in the opposite direction (b). Immediately lower into your quarter-squat again, and jump and turn in the opposite direction, so you land in starting position to complete one rep (c). (For more squat variations, head here!)

6. Pass, Fall, Go’s

How to: Kneel on the ground and hold a weighted ball with both hands against your chest. Explosively push the ball forward from your chest and release it far as possible (a). Follow through by falling forward and catching yourself with your hands on the ground shoulder-width apart (b). Push back up and take off sprinting to the ball (c). When you get to the ball, that’s one rep (c).

Originally published December 2014. Updated February 2018. 

Source: 6 Plyometrics Exercises for a Quick Total-Body Workout

The Arm Workout You’ll Feel ‘Till Next Week

Perfect Total Fitness - Dumbbell Curl
23 Apr

Everyone wants awesome arms to show off their hard work at the gym. Flexed biceps are so popular, they have their own emoji—you know you’ve used it!

If you’re looking for a workout to add some size to your bis and tris, try this superset plan. Remember, the rest time is between supersets, so perform both exercises quickly in succession before taking a break.

The Arm Workout You’ll Feel Till Next Week

Superset: Standing Cable Curl With Press-down

Use whatever handle you want. I’m a fan of doing these with a rope, because it allows you to twist your wrists and get a little extra out of the contraction for each muscle group. Start with the low pulley to perform your curls, then take your rope up higher for the press-downs.

Here’s the extra twist to really fire up those arms: Do three-second negatives on each rep. This helps you feel the muscles working, prepares your elbows for the rest of the workout, and ensures you control the weight instead of the other way around. Rest 45 seconds between supersets.

Superset: Barbell Preacher Curl With Seated Dumbbell Curl

The first superset was a classic biceps-and-triceps combo. Now you’re pairing up two biceps blasters.

The advantage in this set is that you can perform these exercises quickly, back to back, because you can do both in one space. You know how to do preacher curls, so the only thing I’ll say is make sure the tension stays on the biceps and don’t release at the bottom of the rep.

To transition into the dumbbell curls, simply spin around in your seat and place your back against the preacher bench pad. This will also help minimize cheating as you curl. Alternate or use both arms at once—your call. Rest one minute between supersets.

Superset: Close-Grip Bench Press With Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extension

Now it’s time to shift focus to the triceps. As with the previous superset, both exercises can be performed at the same bench, making for a quick superset.

On the close-grip presses, position your hands shoulder-width apart. This aligns the joints and keeps the focus on your triceps without straining your wrists and elbows.

When you finish the press, swivel around so your head is at the opposite end of the bench. This allows you to perform the extensions without hitting the bar.

On the extensions, don’t lift the dumbbells straight up. Press up and back at an angle, as if you’re trying to touch the wall behind you. This puts emphasis on the triceps that you simply don’t get lifting straight up and down. Rest one minute between supersets.

Superset: Concentration Curl With Single-Arm Press-down

Finish off this killer arm workout with a final bis-and-tris superset. Remember those 3-second negatives from earlier? You’re adding them into your reps here as well.

Each of these exercises is an isolation exercise, so if you start with the right arm you’ll do both exercises before switching to the left side. It should be right concentration curl, right press-down, then left concentration curl, left press-down.

The only rest you get here is the time it takes you to work with the opposite arm. While one arm is resting, the other is working. This saves time, minimizes rest, and maximizes work so you can make those arms grow.

This is a great once-a-week workout. Trust me, your arms will be destroyed!

Source: The Arm Workout You’ll Feel ‘Till Next Week |