You may be aware of all the buzz around plyometrics—the intense rapid-fire workout that burns major calories. But have you heard of progressive plyometrics? It's a total-body, abs-blasting workout with lots of jumping (the plyometric part) that builds in intensity (the progressive part).
How does it work? Basically, the routine gets harder as your body "awakens" on a neuromuscular level. (In other words, as you warm up and become more coordinated, you're better prepared for the next move.) Plyos spike your heart rate to burn serious cals while activating your fast-twitch muscle fibers to improve strength. Because your upper- and lower-body muscles are working in tandem, your deepest core muscles fire over time.
Want to give it a try? Check out the workout below, put together by trainer Shaun T, creator of at-home fitness programs such as Insanity and author of T Is for Transformation. Once or twice a week, do this circuit in order, performing each exercise for one minute before moving on without resting. After you've completed all four moves, rest up to one minute, then repeat twice for three total sets.
BACK FLY WITH ALTERNATING KNEE-UP
Stand, then jump your feet out slightly wider than your shoulders as you bring your arms out to the side to form 90-degree angles, squeezing your shoulder blades together
(a). Hop on your left leg as you lift your right knee up to your torso; bring your elbows toward your thigh
(b). Lower your leg; repeat on the other side. That's one rep; continue alternating.
LUNGE WITH CORE ROTATION
Start in a lunge with your right leg bent 90 degrees and left leg extended behind you, and place both hands next to the inside of your right foot
(a). Lift your torso as you bring your hands to shoulder height; twist to the right
(b). Lower your hands to return to start; repeat on the other side. That's one rep; continue alternating.
SUMO SQUAT JUMP WITH ALTERNATING PUNCH
Start in a sumo squat with your feet wider than your shoulders and your toes pointed out, elbows bent and hands facing you just below your chin
(a). Jump off the floor as you push your left arm directly in front of you
(b), then bring your hand back toward your face to return to start. Repeat on the other side. That's one rep; continue alternating.
JUMP LUNGE TO SQUAT
Start in a lunge with your left leg in front and knees bent 90 degrees, elbows bent
(a). Jump as you switch your arms and legs, landing in a lunge with your right foot forward
(b). Jump to bring your feet parallel as you lower into a squat; touch the floor
(c). Step your left foot back; repeat on the other side. That's one rep; continue alternating.
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