You’ve probably heard about plyometrics before. Most people think of them as workouts for athletes who want to run faster, jump higher, and improve general athleticism. And yes, research has shown that plyometric training can do that.
“Higher heart rates occur during serious high-intensity work, and plyometrics can help with excess post-exercise oxygen consumption for hours or days,” says New York City-based trainer Steve Feinberg, a conditioning coach for pro and amateur fighters, creator of Speedball Fitness, and co-inventor of the SpeedBALL and HIPBOX. “The average woman can end up in EPOC sometimes for up to 16 hours, and the average man can be in EPOC for between 32 and 48 hours.”
If your intensity is high, you’ll probably be spent after 10 minutes—but your body will be working hard long after you wrap up in the form of an elevated resting heart rate. “You condition the body to just burn fat more often when you’re doing nothing,” Feinberg says.
But hang on: What exactly is a plyometric exercise?
Think of a standing high jump, Feinberg says. When you stop descending into the squat and start firing your legs to jump upward, that’s called the amortization phase.
“A true plyometric exercise makes that amortization phase as short as possible,” Feinberg says. “The second you finish executing the exercise as your feet or hands hit the ground, you go right back up into the explosive phase.”
Furthermore, there isn’t much that plyometric moves don’t hit. “When applied properly, plyometric exercises train ‘higher chains,’” he adds. That is to say, “plyometric exercises train the body as a system, rather than isolate the muscles, which is probably what a lot of M&F readers tend to do,” says Feinberg.