Exercise Guide
12 Best Upper Body Plyometric Exercises for Power and Strength

12 Best Upper Body Plyometric Exercises for Power and Strength

Upper body plyometric exercises often involve throwing, passing and catching movements. This can be done using a medicine or an alternative such as a backpack or duffle filled with heavy stuff.

Plyometrics refer to speed, speed-strength or power-based exercises. They involve a rapid loading and unloading of your muscles and tendons.

As a result, it leads to forceful acceleration of your body, thus increasing your speed and power. As such, plyometrics should be a staple in every elite athlete’s workout routine.

This is because these exercises that people from various demographics can gain from. Whether its CrossFitters, bodybuilders or team sports athletes.

It also carries value for weight loss and muscle building enthusiasts.

That said, you can also use just your bodyweight to develop power. These upper body plyometric exercises vary in difficulty depending on your fitness levels.

12 Best Upper Body Plyometric Exercises for Power and Strength

Some upper body plyometric exercises include:

1. HALF KNEEL CHOP AND LIFT

There are different variations of these upper body plyometric exercises, each dependent on fitness levels. This ranges from beginner to intermediate to advanced.

First, start with the standing square stance chop, as it is the easiest variation to perform. You can do 1-3 sets of 8-12 reps per side.

Then, you can either add in 1 or 2 more sets, advanced, or you can add more weight. As a beginner, I should use less resistance.

You should also make sure that you use proper form before adding more reps, weight and perform more difficult variations.

2. ELEVATED PLYO-PUSHUPS

Plyo-pushups involve compound movements. This, therefore, means that it targets various parts of the body. They include the chest. Triceps, abs and shoulders.

To perform this exercise:

Kneel on the floor between two slightly elevated platforms, slightly wider the width between shoulders. Position your hands on the floor, beside the sides of the platforms.

Position your upper body off of the floor with your arms extended. Straighten your body, placing the forefeet back on the rear elevated platform.

Lower your body to the floor and immediately push up as fast as possible. As your hands leave the ground, rapidly place your hands on the sides of the platform catching your body before it falls.

Lower your body again. As soon as you feel a slight stretch in your chest or shoulders, immediately push the upper body upward.

Before the upper body falls, immediately remove hands off of platforms and catch your body by returning your hands on the floor between platforms and repeat.

3. OVERHEAD FORWARD THROW

This is one of the upper body plyometric exercises that typically revolve around using a medicinal ball. However, as mentioned earlier, you can use alternatives such as a duffle filled with heavy stuff.

To do this exercise:

Start in a neutral stance, with your feet slightly wider than your hips.

Hold the duffle/medicinal ball overhead, then load the duffle slightly behind your head and use your lats and abs to throw the ball forcefully at the wall.

The ball should rebound back into your hands overhead. Immediately catch and then throw the ball back at the wall, making sure to keep your core tight to support your spine. Do 10-20 reps.

This exercise targets your core, triceps and forearms.

4. MEDICINE BALL SLAMS

For this exercise, as the title suggests, you will need a medicine ball or an alternative, i.e., a duffle with bouncy contents.

They are one of the upper body plyometric exercises that enhance all-round power and strength.

Start by:

Standing with feet parallel, shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.

Pull medicine ball or alternative behind your head and forcefully throw it down on the ground as hard as possible.

Catch the ball on the bounce from the ground and repeat

5. PLYOMETRIC PULL-UPS

This is one of the upper body plyometric exercises that utilize your bodyweight to build power. It targets multiple areas, including the entire upper body and core, hip flexors and posterior.

To do start this exercise:

Hang from a pull-up bar with a safety box beneath you. Start with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders.

You’re going to perform your pull-up with enough explosiveness to get air, letting your hands come about an inch off of the bar.

Catch the bar with bent elbows, lower into the hang position of your pull-up, and repeat. Aim for 5 reps, making sure to catch the bar with bent elbows every time.

6. SPLIT STANCE CHOP AND SLOP

The isometric exercises during split stance chops provide a stability challenge which, in the end, builds core stability.

To start:

Assume a split stance position and attach a rope to a cable stack overhead.

Position the inside leg in hip flexion and set up with both hands grasping rope at roughly shoulder-width apart.

Exhale, rotate the rope across your body and chop to the down knee.

Return to the starting position, repeat for the desired number of repetitions, and then switch sides.

7. MEDICINE BALL DROP

This exercise requires a partner to help during the process. It is done to build explosive strength in the chest, core and shoulders.

Lie on the ground with your arms extended up, knees bent, and feet on the floor. Have a partner stand above you at your head, holding a medicine ball

Get your partner to drop a medicine ball or its alternative towards your chest. Catch the ball and immediately throw it back to your partner

8. SIT-UP AND PASS

This exercise engages your core and requires the help of a partner. To start:

Sit on the ground at an approximate 45º angle. Your partner should be in front of you with the medicine ball or its alternative.

Your partner throws the ball into your outstretched hands.

Once your partner throws the ball, catch it using both hands, with minimal extension, and immediately throw it back.

9. PUSH UP TO STAND

This exercise targets the pectorals, triceps and deltoids.

Start in a push-up position. Create tension in your entire body as your lower into your push-up, then drive off of the ground as explosively as you can so you finish standing tall with perfect posture.

The last thing to leave the ground will be your fingers. Prepare your body for this plyometric exercise by performing a few normal push-ups.

This is a very advanced exercise, so get comfortable with plyometric push-ups and elevated plyo- pushups before attempting this variation.

10. LOW SPLIT STANCE CHOP AND LIFT

This exercise is intended to build your core and hip stability. To start the exercise:

Set-up with one knee just off the ground so that it is directly underneath that hip. The front foot should be flat and directly underneath that knee. The front foot will be the one closest to the rack.

Grip the bar with an overhand grip so that one hand is over your shoulder with the other hand near your bottom hip. The bar will be at a diagonal.

Pull the bar down until your top hand reaches your chest. From here, press the bar down and away from your body so that the bottom arm straightens out.

Take a breath through the belly before bringing the top hand back to your chest and then back up to the start position. The front knee should remain straight ahead throughout.

11. PLYO PUSHUP

These are advanced upper body plyometric exercises that target your chest. triceps, abs and shoulders. To start:

Start in a high plank or at the top of the pushup position. Your torso should be in a straight line, core engaged (tightened), and palms directly under your shoulders.

Start to lower your body as if you’re going to do a pushup until your chest is almost touching the floor.

As you push up, do so with enough force for your hands to leave the ground. For added difficulty, you can clap your hands together, but this is optional.

Land lightly on the ground, moving into your next rep immediately.

Perform 5 to 10 reps for 2 or 3 sets total. Do fewer reps if you’re new to the move, more if you’re advanced.

12.WHOLE BODY CLAP PUSHUPS

This exercise requires you to stay tight and as horizontal as possible as you explode off the ground and then clap back into a taut and proper landing position.

CONCLUSION

Upper body plyometric exercises are highly effective exercises. As such, be careful not to do too much at once or delve into exercises you’re not ready for.

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