Squats and Plyometric (Jump) Squats
This combination exercise alternates body weight squats and plyometric jump squats to give your legs and body a maximum workout. Plyometric jump squats provide many of the same benefits of standard squats—full-body strength training, core stabilization, and tendon and ligaments strengthening—plus the added benefits of balance, coordination, and explosive power training. By alternating between the standard squats and plyometric jump squats, you'll be able to max out even more than if you'd just done one or the other.
Stand on the floor with your arms up at the sides of your head with elbows bent, your hands gently cupping the sides of your head, and your feet shoulder-width apart. Position your feet so that your toes are pointed straight ahead (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, slowly lower down to a fully squatted position, pulling your weight down through your leg muscles as you descend. Keep your weight balanced between the balls of your feet and your heels as you go down. If you feel any knee pressure, shift your weight back more to your heels and let your hips ride back more to take some of the weight off of your toes. Push your chest out very slightly in front of you to counterbalance the heavy load on your heels (see Photo 2).
- When your thighs are parallel to the floor, you will have reached the depth of the squat. Reverse motion and drive up through your feet to return to the starting position (see Photo 3).
- Do 10 of these squats, then switch immediately to plyometric jump squats. To do a plyometric jump squat, begin by lowering yourself down to a fully squatted position as you did in the standard squat (see Photo 4).
- When you have reached the depth of the squat, reverse motion and jump up into the air as high as you possibly can (see Photo 5).
- When you land from your jump, go immediately into your next squat. After you have completed 10 squats and 10 plyometric jump squats, repeat another 10 squats and 10 plyometric jump squats.