Time flies when you’re having fun, which is why some workouts feel so long. Where did all the fun go? When something is fun, we usually want to do it more often. Play is inherently pleasurable. Plyometric exercises are inherently intense. Combine the two for an intense, yet enjoyable workout experience.
What is Play?
Imagine the scene at a playground: Kids are scattered around engaging in an array of physical activities at nearly full speed and completely absorbed in the experience. If you think about any time you have been lost in play or have observed children or others lost in play, you will easily recognize the following characteristics of play, as outlined by Stuart Brown in his book, Play:
Apparently purposeless (done for its own sake) Voluntary Inherent attraction (you’re drawn to it) Freedom from time Diminished consciousness of self Improvisational potential Continuation desire (you want to keep doing it) What are Plyometrics?
Plyometrics are not jumping. Plyometrics are any exercise that features a rapid loading of muscle followed by a rapid unloading of muscle. Think of dropping down quickly to jump—the drop is the “load” and the jump is the “unload.” The key is that the speed turns on the stretch reflex. If you drop down quickly, it’s easier to get back up than if you lower down slowly. The stretch reflex makes your muscles behave like giant rubber bands and creates an elastic rebound effect.
Now it’s time to put play and plyometrics together.
How to “Plyo Play”
You need more than just a plyo exercise to make exercise playful. For playfulness, include elements of reactivity, coordination and interactivity into your workouts.
Reactivity – taking in information from the outside world through your senses and producing a physical response (e.g., I throw you a ball and you catch it) Coordination – combining a series of movements or body actions to produce a smooth, larger movement (e.g., walking and bouncing a ball) Interactivity – engaging with one or more other people verbally, visually or competitively
Take a plyometric exercise or movement, add reactivity, coordination or interactivity and you have the formula for “Plyo Play!”
Playful elements: reactivity, coordination, interactivity
How to Do It: Partner A and B face each other. Partner A leads by performing a single-arm medicine ball slam; on the rebound, partner B performs a slam with the same side arm as partner A. On