There’s always some new fitness trend going around, but in the midst of them all, there are a few that really stick.
That’s because they work, time and time again, and people recommend it to their friends, family, and colleagues. One of the best exercise plans to really solidify in the last decade or so is plyometric cardio.
A plyometric cardio circuit is the equivalent of HIIT, but without the strength training elements to it: it’s all strictly cardio.
Adopting this workout type does a multitude of things for your body, including increasing muscle size and tone through your own resistance, and increasing endurance along with flexibility. It’s not the newest thing in cardio; it’s just one of the best.
- 1 Do Plyometric Cardio Circuits Burn More Calories Than Standard Cardio?
- 2 How to do Proper Cardio With Plyometrics?
- 3 What do You Need for It?
- 4 Examples of Cardio Circuits
- 5 It’s a More Intense Cardio Workout
Do Plyometric Cardio Circuits Burn More Calories Than Standard Cardio?
Absolutely! With standard cardio, you’re just focusing on elevating your heart rate. That’s what cardio is; there’s nothing wrong with it. However, it’s not going to build muscle, even if it’s going to increase your endurance and stamina.
Plyometric cardio circuits target muscle groups through specific exercises such as exploding push ups, leg hops, box jumps, and more. While these are engaging your muscles, your body is forced to work harder.
You need to supply more oxygen to your muscles than you would with a jog, which makes your body work harder.
Now, as long as you can support this by breathing properly and not overdoing yourself, you can see increased caloric burns. We’re going to give you some examples of plyo cardio workouts you can do in this guide, all designed to be more intense than your standard cardio workouts.
If caloric burn is your main goal, know that by working out more muscle groups and requiring your body to send more oxygen to these muscles (through your blood), you’re putting your body through the ringer.
This is better for your caloric burn, but it also helps to tone your body while you work out. Plyometric cardio workouts should eventually replace your standard cardio workout. If for no other reason, they’re a lot more engaging and entertaining than jogging for a half-hour.
How to do Proper Cardio With Plyometrics?
Plyometric workouts revolve around cardio while staying in one relatively small area. There’s a lot of jumping, as well as abdomen movements to help bring your heart rate up.
Plyometrics can easily be considered cardio since they’re forcing you to work your cardiovascular system through dynamic, engaging movements.
In order to effectively say that what you’re doing is cardio, you’re going to have to sweat. You’re going to have to “feel the burn” as they say, and pick up that heart rate and breathing pace.
While plyometrics can be done in a very low-impact and simple manner, about 80% of all plyo exercises are going to be considered cardio as well.
What do You Need for It?
Ideally, you’ll have a high-density yoga mat or something similar to help absorb the impact of your jumps, as well as a few blocks to be able to jump up to.
Some additional accessories for plyometric cardio could be resistance bands, jump ropes, and high-quality sneakers with ample sole support.
Apart from that, you just need a wide open space to be able to do your exercises in. Because of the impact you’re going to have on the floor, be sure you’re in a stable room so vibrations can be kept to a minimum.
If you’re in a mobile home on stilts, you may have to find a different area to do your plyometric cardio workouts.
Examples of Cardio Circuits
Adding plyo exercises into your cardio routine is a great idea. I don’t want to leave you hanging, so before I go, here’s a list of cardio circuit workouts that you can start doing right now.
Circuit #1: Leg Hops, X Skaters, Exploding Push Ups
For some serious intensity that will wake you right up for the rest of the day, this circuit brings the heat. You can change up the level of intensity here as you see fit.
You’re going to start with leg hops. Start in a squat position with both of your knees bent slightly, and lift one foot off the floor. All of your weight should go onto the other foot.
Remain on that foot as long as possible, then jump and land on your opposite leg. Alternative while keeping up a good rhythm, and you’re good to go. Maintain this for as long as possible.
When it’s time to switch to the next step in the circuit, it’s time to explore X Skaters. These can get a bit tricky, but basically, you want to go in horizontal side-steppers, while holding a weight in your hands.
Use the weight to draw an X in the air as you go. On one side-stepper, lean down with the weight to one side. On your next, do it to the opposite side. On your third and fourth, do them above your arms. This works out your entire body.
Last but not least, switch into exploding push ups. When you push up, you kick both of your legs up in the air behind you, keeping your ankles together. By doing this, you’re putting more pressure on your arms and abdomen, while working on balance and your center of gravity at the same time.
Circuit #2: Squat Jumps, Mountain Climbers, Ski Jumpers
I don’t like when people say that they dislike squats. They’re difficult, but that’s when you feel the burn and you know it’s working. With these squat jumps, you’re going to take it to another level.
Utilizing a 10 lb or 20 lb weight in your hands, you’re going to want to hold it steady so that the weight is vertical. Lean down into a squat, and bring the weight down.
Now explode upwards, reaching up with the weight, and jumping just a few inches off the ground from your squat, bringing your feet together as you do it.
This is a very dynamic movement, and eventually, you’ll work up the necessary speeds as you come back down into a squat. It’s tricky, but it can be done.
Do that for as long as you like, but don’t waste all of your energy, because the second part of this circuit is all about mountain climbers. Standing mountain climbers, to be specific.
You’re going to run in place, incorporating that running into knee highs, so you can bring those knees as high up towards your chest as possible.
This creates a lot of dynamic movement that gets your blood flowing, but you’ll also feel muscle groups being targeted that usually don’t get a lot of love.
Last but not least, you’re going to end it with some ski jumpers. These are the least intense of the three, which is why they’re good to come down off of.
Ski jumpers require you to jump horizontally, landing on one foot and bringing the other one in until your legs are close. Then alternate and jump back to your standing position.
While doing this, it’s a good idea to let your arms just flow wherever they want to. Just like a skiing motion. These feel a bit loose and fun, but you’re still keeping that heart rate elevated while you do it.
Circuit #3: Box Jumps, Plyo Push Ups, Hopscotch
Box jumps are going to take a lot out of you, which is exactly what we want to happen. Box jumps are when you jump up onto an exercise box, and then step back down again. The point of these is to continuously work up that heart rate.
From box jumps, work your way into some plyometric push ups. These don’t differ too much from regular push ups, except that you’re going to put a little extra oomph into your upward position.
When you push up, you want to have enough momentum to get your hands off the floor. You don’t have to push up and clap before you come back down or anything ridiculous like that – your hands just have to come off the floor.
Last, get up and go into a hopscotch. If you’re wondering if it’s just like your childhood, the answer is yes—you’re going to do hopscotch jumping in place.
Hop on one foot twice, then hop on both feet, then the alternate foot twice, then both feet, and so on and so forth. This gets your body moving, and keeps up your heart rate.
It’s a More Intense Cardio Workout
Including plyo cardio in your life starting from this point on will give you a more toned definition to your arms, midsection and legs, because it forces you to push yourself just a little bit farther.
When you do this, you’re also helping to push past any plateaus you might have in your strength training. It’s a win-win all around.