We all have days when fitting in a workout seems nearly impossible, let alone making time for strength and cardio. Thank goodness, then, for plyometrics — aka explosive exercises that maximize both your strength and aerobic gains in one move. All you need is a few minutes (we’re talking five to 10!) to get a jump on crushing calories and getting strong.
Someone who has mastered the metabolic burn of plyometrics: BJ Gaddour, Men’s Health fitness director and creator of our new Bodyweight Burners program. He turns the energy up to full blast for these three highly effective exercises, which he demonstrated as a recent guest on Daily Burn 365. (Seriously, watch the video to get pumped by osmosis.) The moves are definitely intense, but putting in the work will pay off in leaps and bounds.
TRY IT NOW: Men’s Health Bodyweight Burners with BJ Gaddour
3 Plyometric Exercises to Turn Up the Heat
Perform these three moves for 30 seconds each. Take a 10- to 15-second break in between each exercise (longer if you need it). Then repeat the sequence for as many rounds as you can, without sacrificing form. You’re in for some super sweaty fun!
1. Rotational Spider Jump
Stability, endurance, power and strength — you’ll gain all of these in just one move. Start slow, then work your way up to speedier jumps.
How to: Start standing with feet hip-width apart. Push your hips back and descend into a shallow squat, placing your right fingertips on the ground (or as close to it as possible) and bringing your left hand back behind your hips (a). Push off your toes, jump up and do a 180-degree turn toward your right, as you raise both arms overhead for more momentum (b). Land softly back on your heels in a squat, this time reaching down with your left hand (c). Explode off the ground again and do a 180-degree turn toward your left side. Repeat, alternating the turn of your jump each time.
2. Spider Climber
Mountain climbers get an upgrade with this variation, which engages your core and triceps even more. Move your feet as fast as you can, but make sure to keep a straight line from head to toe.
How to: Start in a high plank position. Lower half way down, so elbows are bent 90 degrees. (Your elbows should point backward, like you’re about to perform a tricep push-up.) (a). Push off your right toe and drive your right knee to the outside of your right elbow (b). Return to the start position, then push of your left toe, driving your left knee to the outside of your left elbow (c). Continue quickly driving your feet forward and backward, while remaining in a tricep push-up position.
3. Donkey Kick-Through
The ultimate total-body exercise. This one works your arms, legs and whittles your middle. Push your limits, but don’t be afraid to stop for a breather if you need it. You’ll definitely be breathing heavy!
How to: Start on your hands and knees, wrists in line with shoulders and knees in line with hips. Lift your knees a few inches off the floor, keeping your back flat (a). Swing your right foot under your body and straighten it out to the left side, as you pivot your left foot so it’s flat on the ground, toes facing left. At the same time, shift your upper body to the right and pick up your left hand. Your right arm stays on the ground as a stabilizer (b). Return to the starting position. Then perform the same movement with your left leg, turning your upper body to the right (c). Return to start again. Then push off both toes, pike your hips up so your heels almost touch your backside, then kick them out and straight into the air (d). Return to the starting position, then repeat from the top.
For other plyometric exercises that get more done in less time, try BJ Gaddour’s Bodyweight Burners program here.
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