Plyometrics are exercises where you try to make your muscles exert as much force as possible in the shortest amount of time possible. This combination should increase your speed and power, which is why plyometrics are so effective.
Using a plyometric exercise for your legs is highly efficient because you’re both utilizing a powerful type of exercise for large muscle groups.
Find out what our experts think is the best plyometric exercise you should try to gain more strength in your legs.
There are so many great plyometric leg exercises, but if I had to choose one, I would probably go with jump lunges. The reason why I like this exercise so much is because there is (1) an element of balance, (2) the entire leg musculature including hips and glutes are actively engaged, and (3) your core is engaged as well as you propel yourself in the air. It’s also easy to do anywhere, and you can make it harder by wearing a weighted vest or holding some dumbbells in your hands. Finally, it even helps actively stretch your hip flexors, which is a problem for just about all of us (See: Common Posture Problems & How To Fix Them).
– Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT
Squat jumps and lunge jumps are excellent plyometric exercises for the legs that don’t require any equipment and are challenging regardless of your fitness level.
I love jumping lunges for this one. You could do it assisted by using a TRX to help keep you up a bit more, body weight, with dumbbells at your sides or if you’re really adventurous, by using a barbell on your back. Box Jumps are another favorite as you can adjust the height of the box.
– John Levya, CSCS, CPT
Double leg box jumps: use a desired plyometric box height, or a stable leveled platform higher than the starting position to do this exercise. Keep both hands on your hips, and jump onto the box or platform with both feet. You can hop off of the platform with both feet, and quickly repeat the motion to get back onto the platform, which is more advanced, or simply step off the platform.
– Kwesi Peters, CSCS, CPT
A great plyometric exercise is the Box Jump, which can be performed in a variety of ways. My favorite variation (which is an advanced variation, please use caution when doing this) is to jump off a 12″ box then immediately on to a much higher one with no break in the flow of movement. Another variation is to put a small box in front of a higher one and jump consecutively from the ground to the first box to the second box with no break in the flow. The “jump” should be performed with speed and power – don’t be afraid to challenge yourself with higher boxes. Add Box Jumps to your routine once or twice weekly and expect your strength in major compound movements like the squat & deadlift to improve rapidly.
– William Lagakos, Ph.D.