Do you incorporate plyometrics?

Thanks to Kim, I have been diligently searching out new cross training opportunities each month for her New 2 U Cross Training Challenge.  It’s been so helpful to have that extra push to try new things.

There is an HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) class at my gym that I’ve wanted to try for months.  It was only offered Saturday mornings (typical long-run day), but this month a second class was added Wednesday evenings, so I finally went.

The class itself was much what I expected- rounds of intense cardio mixed with strength training.  There’s no doubt it was a great workout, better than an easy run would have been, but all the jumping and plyometrics on hardwood floors was a lot of pounding for a non-running day.

Runners can benefit from pylometrics, and I’d like to incorporate some of these exercises more often but it’s important to add them in gradually and carefully. I like these recommendations to use a grassy area and start with 10-20 minutes to ease in, rather than the hour-long HIIT class.

That being said, I know some runners who really enjoy HIIT, and it would definitely make you a stronger runner! And for non-runners, it’s an awesome all-around cardio and strength workout.

Here’s a glimpse of the class I attended

30 second bursts of cardio

  • jumping jacks
  • mountain climbers on the bosu ball
  • squat jumps on the bosu ball
  • side-to-side squat jumps
  • quick feet (switching feet over the bosu ball)
  • jump-rope
  • burpees
  • plank “jacks”

Strength moves

  • push ups on the (upside-down) bosu ball
  • overhead shoulder press with dumbbells
  • bicep curls
  • tricep kick-backs
  • wood-chopper (dumbbell overhead and down to the side as you squat)
  • spiderman push ups
  • planks

I thought my arms would be sore, but I felt it the most in my hips for the next two days, from all the side to side jumping.

Have you done an HIIT class or plyometrics?

Do you find plyometrics complement your running, or puts you at risk for injury?


66 thoughts on “Do you incorporate plyometrics?

  1. The Jillian workouts I do have a lot of plyo moves in it. I have a great DVD that is a 45 minute plyo workout and it kills me every time!

    • That’s true- I have a few of her dvd’s with plyo moves, too. My shins are always the first thing to talk to me if I’m overdoing it, so I get nervous about too much additional pounding on top of running, but it’s such a great workout!
      Laura recently posted..Do you incorporatre plyometrics?My Profile

    • It was a fun class! But it’s smack between what are usually my speed days and tempo runs, so I’m not sure it’s wise to work so hard on a day that should be an “easy” workout- I usually do something lower impact, like spin… let me know how your class is if you try it!
      Laura recently posted..Do you incorporatre plyometrics?My Profile

    • They definitely are effective! I’m trying to find the best way to fit them into an already high (for me) running mileage week without injury… but I know when I’m not running as much I’ll be doing a lot more plyos than I am now!
      Laura recently posted..Do you incorporatre plyometrics?My Profile

    • They’re definitely worth a try! They’re a really effective workout for much less time than traditional cardio, but honestly, I would much rather be out for an enjoyable run… I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with plyo moves!
      Laura recently posted..Do you incorporatre plyometrics?My Profile

    • I agree, Clea- I think for runners who already have high mileage, plyos can be asking for injury sometimes, as running is already a high-impact activity. But I understand how they would be effective!

  2. I’ve done PLYO a couple times… i tend to be extremely careful with it, but understand the benefits. When I do, I stay away from jumping over boxes or anything that might twist an ankle. I rely on running too much to risk an injury. But it has benefits and I excellent way to build strength.
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    • I agree with you- I can see the benefits for running, but it also felt like I would be asking for injury if I pushed myself 100%! I was pretty cautious too- and came out unscathed… now to determine how often I want to incorporate it… or if I should do my own thing.

  3. I’m so tempted to try classes like this (and CrossFit), but I worry that it’s too much impact for what are supposed to be my ‘slightly less taxing on the joints’ cross-training days. I’m sure I’ll try something like it eventually, but for now I’m sticking to regular weight training, biking, and swimming. Glad you had a good class, though!

    • That’s exactly what I was thinking the whole time- it felt like too much of a high impact activity for an off day of running… I want to do a little more than I do currently, but like you, I think I’ll stick to my traditional weights and cross training activities.
      Laura recently posted..Do you incorporatre plyometrics?My Profile

  4. I’ve been doing a weekly plyo workout since my first marathon training cycle 5 years ago. Since I’m a low mileage runner, XT is very important to me. I feel it’s a major reason I made it to Boston relatively early. : )
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    • Wow! I’m all about cross training too, but am not sure my shins are up for weekly plyo on top of all the miles… but I can definitely see how it would make you a stronger runner! Do you do a class, or dvds, or just your own thing?
      Laura recently posted..Do you incorporatre plyometrics?My Profile

  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love HIIT workouts, and like you said, I have really gotten into the CrossFit and am loving it! Love connecting with such great mothers/bloggers/fitness minded people!

    • I’ve been thinking of checking out CrossFit too but need to figure out what’s near me. The summer is probably the ideal time, as it’s too hot here to do much running or training for any races. So glad to connect with you too!
      Laura recently posted..Do you incorporatre plyometrics?My Profile

  6. Great job keeping up with the “new to you” challenge, I definitely dropped the ball on that one a few months ago!

    The only plyometrics and HIIT that I have done are the ones on Jillian Michaels DVDs!

    • We’ll see how long I keep going… I have a few more ideas, but I’m not sure I’ll make it to 12! 🙂 Jillian incorporates some great plyo exercises. That reminds me that I haven’t done her dvds in weeks!
      Laura recently posted..Do you incorporatre plyometrics?My Profile

    • Isn’t it crazy the muscles you can forget you have?! I was nervous at first that I had some new injury or pulled my IT band, before I realized it was just muscle soreness- I haven’t been sore from a workout in a long time and almost forgot what it felt like!
      Laura recently posted..Do you incorporatre plyometrics?My Profile

    • Oh, OUCH is right!! I don’t do box jumps either- mostly because I feel like the impact is too much on my shins to expect quality runs the following day. But I could see myself incorporating more mountain climbers and plank jacks, and some of the slightly less impact moves.
      Laura recently posted..Do you incorporatre plyometrics?My Profile

  7. I have done both. When I was in Calgary, every Tuesday night before Hills and Drills were 50 mins of crazy intervals called “Extreme Sports Conditioning.” The instructors were good about making us do our reps on burpees, mountain climbers and the infamous Turkish Getup.
    I think that course has really help me get in shape and provided a good base for my running. I didn’t realize it at the time.

    Last Fall, when I was training for marathon, I dabbled into P90x. The Pylometrics exercises in the P90X program were very challenging. I had to modified as I was putting in very long runs on Sat and Pylo was on Monday.

    I know I should give it a try again this summer, but need some motivation for sure!

  8. I don’t have a gym membership at the moment, but have a pretty decent home gym. Until I got injured, I did a weight lifting workout 2-3 times a week using the HIIT interval timer on my cell phone. It works great for me. Since I have to listen to my coach and follow his “plan” I have been doing a lot more stretching and plyo with some light weights. I already know that he is going to require me to keep up with plyo and stretching routine which is fine with me, I love it. I have already noticed a difference (so has my PT) in my flexibility. WooHoo!
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    • I’m so impressed with your self-discipline to do it on your own! I can get in weights on my own, but slack on any pylo moves without a dvd or class setting.

  9. Yeah! You found a HIIT class. I can’t believe you remembered all the moves. I sometimes take a picture of the dry erase board so I can remember what we did.
    Kim @ (Just) Trying recently posted..VIPMy Profile

  10. I’ve never done an actual HIIT class because I usually reserve HIIT for quick at-home workouts. I usually hate them while I’m doing them but love them afterwards because they’re such a quick and no-equipment way to get a sweat on!

    • Yes! I feel the same way- I was hating it in the middle of the class, but love how efficient and effective they are! I think I’ll do something similar and build them into shorter, at-home workouts.

  11. I’ve never tried a HIIT class but I’ve done plyo with P90X and P90X2. Loved it! But, at the end of the 90-day challenge for each program I decided it was too high impact on top of running 4/week so I stopped. If I’m running less I add a day of plyo every now and then just for the fun 🙂
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  12. just like a lot of other people commented before me, it depends on the moves with knees. There are benefits to plyometrics, however for running the longer distances, those benefits don’t really transfer over to that type of mileage (more for sprinters or shorter miles)
    What has been REALLY helping me a lot (i’ve been meaning to write a post on it) is doing some runs on tired legs. I think HANDS down it has been a great strength builder for me because it most imitates how an actual race is. It just so happens I was doing it on a hunch then I was digging through an old runner’s world mag and there was an article talking about how its great for strength building and speed.for longer distances- who knew i was doing something right hehe
    lisa j recently posted..Being flexible in your training scheduleMy Profile

    • I agree that HIIT is especially helpful for sprinters and short distances. Funny that you mentioned running on tired legs- I’ve been doing that the last few months too, adding in a recovery run the day after a long run, and also came across some research on those benefits. Great minds… 🙂
      Laura recently posted..Mixing protein powder and runnersMy Profile

  13. I’ve never taken a HIIT class but it sounds like the Jillian videos which I try to do a couple times a week. It does help my running 🙂 an hour of that kind of training sounds intense but I’m sure you get results quickly.
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  14. I haven’t tried either, but it looks like an intense workout! I have a wrist problem, so I try to stay away from the burpie type exercises where I am continuously putting weight on it. I can do planks though! I did start the p90x2 this week, which is a core workout. I will probably only do it about once a week, rather than 5 days a week like I am supposed to, since it’s too hard to do that AND run!
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  15. I LOVE HIIT (and weight training) and have found that when it’s going well my running improves dramatically. However, since I’m already injury prone I stick to slow controlled weight training when I’m training for an important race or if I’ve already paid for a 5k or 10k. For some reason HIIT and weight training help me ward off depression, not to mention that I love the sculpted look, so they are a MUST for me!!
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    • I’m the opposite-it’s the running high endorphins that help me keep depression at bay, and I have never been a big fan of weights- but it’s growing on me, and I love that I’m feeling stronger, both in running and in general.
      Laura recently posted..Mixing protein powder and runnersMy Profile

  16. I agree- it’s so hard to fit in everything that I think I “should” be doing! Especially now that I need to incorporate swimming…. looks like a double day is a necessity if I want to keep one full day off. Which is probably good practice for a tri anyway, right? 🙂

  17. Plyo and me have a love/hate relationship. I have taken a couple boot camp classes which includes alot of Plyo and HIIT movements. I know it helps me with my running. I do have to say that when I find workouts I dont enjoy doing or is difficult I should probably keep doing it because it is something I need to do to help my overall physical fitness. So I keep doing burpees! 😉
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  19. I think some of Jillian Michaels’ videos follow the HIIT concept, but I’ve never taken a class. I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to anything that might leave me too sore — or injured! — for running… but your suggestion of starting on a grassy surface makes sense. Maybe I’ll try these for another month of the New 2 U challenge!
    Beth (i run like a girl) recently posted..July cross training pays off!My Profile

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