written by Belinda Norton ,September 22, 2021
Image: Anastasia Hisel | Unsplash
Has your body stopped responding to your go-to workout? Is your motivation low? This spring workout will help you get back on track.
Working out in the wake of winter poses its own set of problems. A cool morning can make you feel demotivated. Our bodies need to be warmed up when it gets cold. This in-between season can have benefits that you won’t find during the summer. For example, cold weather may increase endurance. It is the perfect time to change to a heart pumping training style.
. Functional fitness training includes some basic plyometric movements that increase strength, power, and speed through rapid, explosive mobility movements. This is a great place to start if you are looking for a beginner-level winter workout.
This workout will help you to get familiar with the heart-pumping style of training. Although it might sound daunting, it can be very beneficial.
Though they’re quick, plyometric exercises require maximum force in short bursts — think powerful jump squats, run bursts and side steps.
.Plyometric training is used to improve strength and conditioning, human neuromuscular function, and mobility. As we age or become injured, our bodies develop fear of these movements. It’s important to keep these movements in mind as we age to improve muscle adaptation, biomechanics, and strength.
. The key to this exercise is to start slowly by adding basic plyometric exercises to your sweat sessions so that your muscles can adapt slowly and you don’t risk injury. If you feel pain, you should stop and rest, adjust your body alignment, and then try again.
. Although they are quick, plyometric exercise require maximum force in short bursts. Think powerful jump squats or side steps, slow bear crawls, or run bursts. These quick-fire exercises not only increase your power but also strengthen your muscles and connective tissue. These movements can help you be more mobile in your daily life.
. Plyometric training uses a fast cyclical muscle action called the “stretch–shortening cycle”. This is where the muscle experiences an eccentric contraction followed by a transitional phase before the concentric contraction. This allows the muscles to warm up faster and provides a more productive workout in a shorter time.
. The explosive movements of plyo strengthen and shorten muscle fibers. This improves agility. Like all forms of exercise, plyo can be a great stress reliever, body-warmer, and mood-booster. After all, it’s easy to crack a smile, or giggle at yourself crawling around like an animal.
The best part about this exercise is that it can be done at any place and anytime.
.Plyometric training develops the neural, musculotendinous and muscle fibre strengths to improve blood flow to muscles. Research has shown that plyometric exercise is the best way to enhance all body performance. Regular plyometric exercises can also help you lose weight quickly.
*While plyo may be the preferred workout for athletes looking to gain strength and speed, it can also be modified to suit individuals of all fitness levels, ages, and backgrounds. For youthful mobility, the key focus should be on achieving better alignment and functionality.
. Functional plyometric and combination fitness has been the main reason my body has remained strong and resilient well into my 40s. But the best part about this exercise is that it can be done anywhere, anytime. It’s easy: Find a court, grab your determination, and get on the mat.
. Ready to jump in?
. This training session should be completed early in the morning. Warm up with warm water. You can find a tennis court, concrete court or open space in your area. I recommend walking slowly to one.
Wellbeing Winter warmer workout
- 6 x 50m shuttle runs with a ground touch at each end. For those who are “well-tuned”, add 2 x burpees at each end of the court (take the first two easy, and concentrate on function).
- 10 x side squat steps (aka crab walks) or jumps.
- 20 x speed toes tap steps (along a line in a lateral direction). Make sure your foot is planted on the line.
- 10 x paces of walking lunges (with hands on hip or in a running style). Make sure your knee touches the ground.
- 10 x push-ups with single straight-arm extension on each alternate set.
- 10 x curtsy lunges with hands on hips — see exercise notes.
- 10 xx bear crawls (knee to elbow) travelling or stationary — see exercise notes.
- 10 x abdominal flutter kicks.
Repeat full set 3-4 times.
No equipment required other than your determination.
. Warm up at home with some stretches.
. You may want to incorporate this set of plyometric exercises into your regular workout. You can also add star jumps (jump lunges), jump lunges (standing long jumps) to your routine. Make sure to warm up to ensure your muscles are prepared to handle the more difficult moves.
. For a complete video description, please see my Instagram reels @Belinda.n.x.
Wellbeing Exercise notes
How to do a burpee with correct form
- Start in a squat position with your knees bent, back straight and your feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Lower your hands to the floor in front of you so they’re just inside your feet.
- With your weight on your hands, kick your feet back so you’re on your hands and toes, and in a push-up position.
- Keeping your body straight from head to heels, do one push-up. Do not let your back go or stick your toes in the air.
- Do a frog kick by jumping your feet back to their starting position.
- Stand and reach your arms over your head. Jump quickly in the air until you land back where your feet were.
- As soon as you land with knees bent, get into a squat position.
How to shuttle run
Begin continuous running back and forth between two line markers at a certain pace. You can touch the line using your fingertips and switch hands at each end.
How to curtsy lunge
- Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and let your arms fall at your sides.
- Draw a semicircle with your right foot, moving it clockwise until it crosses behind your left foot.
- Lunge down as deeply as possible, hovering your knee a few centimetres off the floor.
- Slowly return to the standing curtsy position.
How to bear crawl with bent knees
- Start on all fours and lift your knees so they’re at a 90-degree angle and hovering a couple of centimetres off the ground.
- Move one hand and the opposite foot forward an equal distance while staying low to the ground.
- Switch sides, moving the opposite hand and foot. Switch sides, moving the opposite hand and foot.
Belinda Norton is health and fitness educator and personal trainer with 23 years’ experience. Fit Mama is her published author. Kid Spot is her writer. She shares her knowledge on women’s health and alignment. Belinda is a mother to two teenagers, speaker, and a child’s health advocate. Connect with her on blivewear.com and Instagram @Belinda.n.x.
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