On any given day in Denver, a person could find themselves hiking the hilly terrain, kayaking the South Platte River, or jogging one of the city’s many parks. It’s hardly surprising, then, that Denver is often ranked among the country’s fittest cities, most recently claiming the No. 6 spot on the 2015 American Fitness Index. So in order to navigate the active, outdoorsy lifestyle here—or even just to keep up in a Denver CrossFit class—it’s important to stay in shape. Plyometrics, a technique endorsed by some of the top trainers and best gyms in Denver, can help build strength and speed. You may not know exactly what plyometrics are, but there’s a good chance you already know how to do them. Read on to learn more about this explosive exercise.What does “plyometrics” even mean?Coined by track and field coach Fred Wilt in 1975, plyometrics combines two Latin root words that loosely translate to "measurable increases.” Wilt observed that hugely successful Soviet athletes performed leaping and squatting exercises before their races, so he refined the program and introduced it to American athletes. It’s defined by quick muscle movements, like those used when leaping in the air.So wait, it’s just jumping?Basically. Plyometrics work to boost coordination and agility through rapid, explosive movements, such as bounding and leaping over simple props such as boxes and cones. This quickly stretches and contracts muscles, improving reflex and making them faster rather than bulkier. But it’s not just jumping—various medicine-ball exercises can help increase arm strength and speed.Will plyometrics land me a spot on the Broncos?Probably not, but the technique is favored by professional athletes because it can help muscles quickly adapt to more challenging fitness workouts. Coach Wilt also found much success with plyometrics, as he translated his teachings into a best-selling book that helped him earn a spot in the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame.
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