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Fitness / 5 Plyo-Packed Summer Workouts

Jul 28, 2016 • Lilian Nwora

No gym? No problem! Get toned this summer with five fat-busting plyometric workouts. Sure, these can be done at home, but don’t be afraid to catch some rays and much needed Vitamin D by doing these summer exercises outside.

To get started, you’ll need:

  • Tennis shoes
  • Cool and comfortable clothing
  • Water
  • Weights: Free weights OR any canned item OR gallon of water

Plyometrics, or “plyo” for short, is basically jump training. Plyometrics enhance our explosiveness and power as muscles are constantly stretched and contracted in various jumping exercises. Plyos benefit numerous sports such as basketball, volleyball, tennis, sprints or any activity requiring some form of explosive movement.

You know the drill, every good workout begins with a warm up and ends with a cool down. Warm up by beginning with a jog for 3-5 minutes. Following the jog, keep your body warm with some dynamic stretches such as butt kicks, high knees, knee hugs, or lunges with a twist to the right or left.

Warm and ready? Let’s get started. The goal is to complete this circuit 3 times. Do as many reps as you are able.

  1. Box jumps

Target: Legs, Glutes, Quads

10 reps, 3 sets

New to plyometrics? #Don’tSweatIt! Let’s get started with an exercise you can do virtually anywhere – box jumps. Set up a sturdy box or find a sturdy bench no higher than knee level. Stand in front of the box, and then take one large step backwards until you’re at a comfortable distance to clear the box.

Stand with your feet spread shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. As you prepare to jump, swing your arms behind you as you bend from the hips and let your knees generate power as you jump on the box. Use your arms to propel you forward. Land as softly as you can on the box, step down and repeat for 3 sets, 10 reps each.

  1. Straight Leg Kick Back

Target: Abs, Hamstring, Arms, Quads

10 reps, each leg, 3 sets

Straight leg kick backs are an easy way to tone up your glutes while targeting numerous other supporting muscles. Begin with all hands and feet on the ground, lift hips off the ground and transition into downward facing dog position. From this position, raise one leg at a time straight back towards the sky, and then slowly back down gently tapping the ground. Do this on one leg for 10 reps before alternating to the other leg. 

Be sure to engage your abs and core through this exercise to protect your spine. If your weight begins to shift favoring one side, place both hands on whatever side you are working allowing for glute isolation.

  1. Alternating Jump Lunges

Target: Calves, Glutes, Abs, Cardio

20 reps, each leg, 3 sets

To begin, stand straight and stagger your feet one in front of the other. Lunge and keep knees bent ever so slightly, this will help you be explosive as you push of the ground and jump. With your right foot in front and left slightly back, jump up and alternate your legs to bring your right foot back and left in front.  Keep your core engaged as you push off the ground! This exercise is sure to have you huffing and puffing in no time and will improve your explosiveness and power.

  1. Overhead Lunges

Target: Abs, glutes, quads, hamstrings hip flexors

10 reps, each leg, 3 set

Work your upper and lower body while improving your balance with overhead lunges. This exercise can be done with or without weights. If you choose to do so with weights, pick up your weight, place it over your head, arms vertically extended. To begin, split feet apart in a lunge position – one foot in front, one foot in the back.  Take your time with this exercise as form is more important than speed. Maintain your form by keeping knees bent in a 90-degree angle, making sure not to let your knee cap go over your toes as you alternate right and left leg lunges for a total of 10 reps per leg.

  1. Step Ups

Target: Hamstrings, Quads, Glutes, Abs

20 reps, each leg, 3 sets

Looking to get that rear in high gear? Step ups need to be the only thing wiggling into your workout routine. From the stairs at home to a bench at the park, step ups can virtually be done anywhere with some moderate degree of elevation. To begin, place your right leg on the box or bench, and drive the left leg up toward your chest with purpose. Use your arms for momentum as you drive your leg toward your chest. Step down and switch legs, now placing your left leg on the box and driving with the right leg up toward your chest. Feel the burn as you do a total of 20 reps on each leg.

Repeat the entire circuit 3 times through. You got it! Incorporate Plyometric exercises into your workout twice a week to stay toned this summer. Finish up your workout with a cool down by jogging another 3-5 min. Afterwards reach for a Passionfruit Peach Hydrator Smoothie, which provides potassium, an important electrolyte, to help you stay hydrated. This Hydration Smoothie even replenishes fluids better than water! After a Plyometric workout especially, our bodies could use some quick and tasty carbohydrates to help restore the ones we broke down to finish this workout. I sometimes also add a fitness enhancer to my smoothie for some added protein. 

Lilian C. Nwora, R.D., L.D., is the owner and editor of Dresses & Dumbbells, LLC. She is a registered dietitian nutritionist and personal stylist, with a master’s degree in clinical nutrition. She also holds a Bachelors of Arts in Sports Medicine and over 12 years of athletic competition experience.


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