"Spring" Training

Place your right hand against your chest and tap your middle finger as fast as you can. No matter what, don’t slow down for at least 15 seconds. Now, try again, but use your other hand to lift your finger each time. Which was easier? I’m guessing that the second time required much less effort, in fact, it was probably a snap!

In terms of movement, muscles tend to get all of the attention, but behind the scenes is elasticity. A function of connective tissues, specialized structures within the muscle, and the nervous system, elasticity allows your body to work like a rubber band, efficiently storing and releasing energy. With training, you can improve your body’s elasticity, leading to greater power, agility, and performance.

So, if you are have been doing resistance exercise for a minimum of 8-12 weeks, have been injury free for the past 6 months, and looking to put a little “spring” into your step, try adding some this elasticity program to your workout routine.

Protocol: 2 sets of 8 reps per exercise. Gradually increase workout frequency (up to 3 times a week) and intensity (as a % of maximum effort) over a period of 8-12 weeks

Warm up: 5 minutes of light cardio (ex. jogging, biking, or elliptical) followed by 20s each of bodyweight squats, lunges, and skipping (that’s right, I said “skipping”).


Ankle Hops- With your legs straight and hands on the back of your head, bounce off the balls of your feet pulling your toes upwards while in midair.



Bunny Hops- With your feet together and knees slightly bent, bounce off of the balls of your feet while moving forwards or backwards.



Lateral Hops- Like the bunny hop, but bouncing side to side.



Bound- From a jog, gradually lengthen your stride until you are traveling as far as you can with each step.


Lateral Bound- While balanced on one foot, leap sideways, landing under control on your opposite foot.



Squat Jump- With your hands on the back of your head and feet approximately shoulder width apart, lower into a squat then immediately jump into the air.



“Kidding” Around

Can’t stand counting reps? Train your elasticity while unleashing your inner child with a game of hopscotch. Forgot the rules? Check out this site for the traditional game as well as some interesting variations: http://home.howstuffworks.com/hopscotch-games.htm


“Skip” the Gym

Skipping rope is a classic form of elasticity training that also boosts conditioning and builds coordination. Plus, you’ll burn around 1,000 calories an hour!


Sources-

“Plyometric Training – Part I, What it is and what it’s not”, Juan Carlos Santana, Med, CSCS. Performbetter.com

“Plyometric Training Can Cause Serious Injuries”, Nick Grantham, Sportsinjurybulletin.com

“Plyometrics”, Alex Meiljunas, Myfit.ca






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About Tony Fed

Tony is the host of the Paleo Magazine Radio podcast, author of "Paleo Grilling: A Modern Caveman's Guide to Cooking with Fire", and Cofounder of Powerful PT, an innovative information resource for Fitness Professionals. He has appeared on numerous local and national television and radio broadcasts and regularly hosts healthy cooking workshops and informational lectures. He is also a full-time Personal Trainer and Wellness Consultant who lives in Jacksonville Florida with his wife Jamie.
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