May The Force Be With You (Jump Like A Jedi)
Who here remembers Luke’s Battle with Vader in The Empire Strikes Back? In case you don’t, here’s a quick refresher of a crucial moment I want to remind you of. Luke has been knocked into the carbonite chamber and he’s about a second away from becoming an icicle when…Woosh, out he pops from the machine in order to grab onto the equipment about 12 feet above it. Now that’s one serious jump!
If Luke had competed in the Olympics he’d easily come home with a medal that’s for sure! His legs generated some massive amounts of force, and I’m here to tell you that you can do exactly the same thing. (Okay maybe not exactly the same thing) by training yourself to jump higher and more forcefully with plyometric exercises.
Now I know ‘plyometrics’ sound quite fancy but the reality is that they’re simply jumping or bounding movements which utilise your body’s ‘fast twitch’ muscle fibres. These muscle fibres are typically underused by most people, even those of us who strength train regularly, which means that a little training can go a seriously long way. In fact don’t be surprised if you can jump an extra foot or two higher and an extra two or three feet further after only a couple months of training!
If this sounds like something you’re interested in (which it absolutely should be) then some good examples of lower body plyometric movements are squat jumps, vertical jumps and broad jumps. Since these exercises are all about quality over quantity, I’d recommend doing is 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps near the beginning of your workout. Repeat this once or maybe even twice a week and you should see some amazing improvements in your overall athleticism.
Lastly if it all that wasn’t enough to convince you then how about this?
Force = Mass x Acceleration (Or F=MA)
And if you’re developing your fast twitch muscle fibres then your muscles will be able to contract quicker. This means you’ll have greater acceleration. And if you have greater acceleration with the same mass what does that give you?.....More Force!
That’s right, conclusive proof that plyometric training WILL ACTUALLY make the force be with you.
If that’s not a reason to train I don’t know what is!
Good Luck getting athletic!
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