How to Do Plyometric Lunges Properly

Plyometric lunges, also known as jumping lunges, are high-intensity lower body workouts.

They are a great exercise for strengthening your leg muscles. Plyometric lunges are an advanced form of walking lunges.

They are also a great cardio workout due to the rapid change between stretching and contraction.

To do this exercise:

  • Get into the starting position with one leg in front of the other. Your knees should be slightly bent. Keep your shoulders in line with your hips and your head neutral. Tuck in your chin.
  • Keep your feet stable by remaining on your heels. Bend the knee of your front leg suck that your back shin almost touches the ground.
  • Explode from your front foot and swing your arms forward for balance.
  • In mid-air switch your feet by bringing the back leg forward and taking the forward leg back.
  • Land in the lunge starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired reps

WHAT MUSCLES DO PLYOMETRIC LUNGES WORK?

Primarily, plyometric lunges work on the leg muscles. They also work on part of the core/

1.      QUADS

These are a powerhouse of the legs. They are known in full as quadriceps.

They are four muscles located on the anterior of the thighs.

The four quads are:

Vastus lateralis are the largest quads. They wrap around the outside of the thigh.

Vastus medialis are the quads found in the inner thigh. They are tear-drop shaped muscles that originate from your inner thigh to just above your kneecap.

Vastus intermedius are the deepest quads. They run between the other quads.

Rectus femoris which run above the vastus intermedius and are attached to your kneecap.

Quads lengthen the leg at the knee joint and stabilize the knee.

2.      HAMSTRINGS

The hamstrings are a group of muscles found in the backs of your thighs. They help you bend your knees and extend your legs backwards.

The three muscles in the hamstrings are:

Semimembranosus is a long muscle that extends from the pelvis to the tibia. It extends the thigh and flexes the knee.

Semitendinosus is a muscle that runs from the lower end of the pelvis to the top of the knee. It has the same job as the semimembranosus.

Biceps femoris extends from the medial part of the thigh to the area near the top of the knee.

3.      CALVES

Your calves are the diamond-shaped muscles below your knees. These muscles are activated by the squatting motion of plyometric lunges.

They help stabilize the heels and ankles.

The calves are made up of two muscles:

Gastrocnemius is the largest muscle in your calf. It connects to the Achilles tendon in the heel. It helps extend your knee and flex your foot.

Soleus extends from the back of your knee to the heel.

These muscles are extremely important in providing support for walking, jumping, running and squatting. The calves absorb the impact from jumping.

4.      GLUTES

The glutes are the muscles found in your buttocks. They are responsible for giving it its round shape.

They are made up of three muscles: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.

Not only is the gluteus maximus the largest gluteal muscle but it’s also the largest muscle in the body. It helps keep you upright, providing much-needed balance during lunges. They also help generate force for jumping.

The gluteus medius lies between the other gluteal muscles, hence the name. It helps provide stability for your pelvis and rotate your legs.

The gluteus minimus is the deepest gluteal muscle. It is also the smallest. It helps rotate your legs and shares stabilizing duties with the rest of your glutes.

5.      HIP FLEXORS

The hip flexors are the muscles responsible for bearing the most weight in your body.

They are responsible for extension, rotation and flexion of your legs.

Plyo lunges help stretch and strengthen your hip flexors.

PLYOMETRIC LUNGES BENEFITS

1.      GREAT CARDIO EXERCISE

Plyometric lunges are a great exercise for getting your heart rate up.

This improves the efficiency of your body’s cardiovascular health.

This helps reduce the risk of heart disease such as heart attacks.

2.      IMPROVE ATHLETIC ABILITY

Jumping lunges help your contract your lower body in isolation. This helps increase strength, power and better transfer of energy in your lower body.

This greatly improves your ability in sprinting, jumping and weightlifting sports.

3.      IMPROVED STABILITY

These lunges involve multiple joints.

Many joints and muscles work together to produce explosive movement.

This strengthens the joints and bones in your lower body which reduces the risk of osteoporosis as you age.

Constant exercise for your lower body increases your awareness when you’re moving which reduces your risk of falling.

ALTERNATIVES TO PLYOMETRIC LUNGES

1.      SPLIT SQUAT

To do this exercise:

  • Take a few steps away from an exercise bench and make sure you’re facing away from the bench. Your back should be against the bench.
  • Put on foot on the bench pad. Keep the foot flat against the bench.
  • Keep your legs shoulder-width apart. Bend your hips forward into a square.
  • The thigh of your front leg should be parallel to the floor. Keep your back straight and your rear thigh should also be straight.
  • Press against your entire foot to return to the starting position and place tension in your back leg.
  • Repeat for the desired reps.

2.      STEP-UPS

To do this exercise:

  • Stand about a foot away from a raised surface like stairs or a bench. Place one foot on the bench while the other one remains on the floor.
  • Bend slightly at the hips and lean forward.
  • Put some of your body weight on your front foot and push through the raised platform until you’re standing on top of it.
  • Using the back foot, slowly bend your knees and return it to the starting position.
  • Do 3 sets of 12 reps for each leg.

PLYOMETRIC LUNGES MISTAKES TO AVOID

Before you dive into plyometric lunges, ensure you can perform walking lunges. If you are uncomfortable doing jumping lunges, it may be because you have poor form or haven’t mastered more basic forms of the lunge.

Don’t land too hard and shatter your lower legs with the impact. Reduce the gap between your legs to land softer.

Don’t stay on the ground for too long between each jump. To make this exercise effective, jump as soon as you have landed. Momentum is key.

Don’t bend forward when jumping.

If your knees hurt, stop immediately. This could be a sign of injury.