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10 Plyometric Leg Exercises You Need for More Power

  • Katie Dunlop

    Time to Explode

    You already know bodyweight leg exercises are legit. They work whether you're at the gym, in a park, or hanging out in your living room feelin' lazy about that GoT marathon you just indulged in. (Speaking of GoT, did you see what these dedicated viewers did for the season 7 premiere?) But there's an easy way to up the ante without adding equipment: jump. Incorporating explosive movements into your favorite leg exercises—squats, lunges, etc.—makes them plyometric and cranks up the fire-burning power.

    "Plyometric leg exercises are explosive movements that will increase your power and overall strength," says Katie Dunlop, CPT, creator of Love Sweat Fitness. "When you perform these types of movements—without weights and at your maximum effort—you'll burn fat and shape your legs, butt, and thighs."

    That's why Dunlop put together a routine that's focused solely on plyometric leg exercises. She says they work great on days when you're short on time—it'll only take you about 20 minutes— but are craving a serious calorie burn. Do the prescribed exercise for 30 seconds, rest for 30, then move on to the next. Keep repeating through the circuit until your 20 minutes is up. (Want something even shorter? Here's a 10-minute plyometric workout.) As you get stronger, you can increase speed and fit in more reps.

  • Katie Dunlop

    Explosive Star Jump

    • Start with feet hip-width apart. With weight in heels, lower into a deep squat.
    • Push through heels and explode up, bringing arms overhead and legs out, as if doing a jumping jack.
    • Landing gently from toe to heel, immediately lower back into a deep squat and repeat.
  • Katie Dunlop

    Frog Jump

    • Start with feet shoulder-width apart with heels in, toes slightly out.
    • Squat down, bringing hands to the floor, butt tucked under (in a frog-like position).
    • Push through heels and explode up, reaching arms overhead.
    • Landing gently from toe to heel, immediately lower hands back down to the floor and repeat.
  • Katie Dunlop

    Donkey Kick

    • Start with feet hip-width apart. Bend over, placing hands on the floor about a foot in front of feet.
    • Engaging core, bend knees and kick one heel up toward the sky, as if attempting to go into a handstand.
    • With control, drop the leg back to the ground. Kick off again, this time with other heel. Continue alternating sides.
    • MAKE IT HARDER: Kick up with both heels at the same time.
  • Katie Dunlop

    Ice Skater

    • Start in a curtsy lunge position, left leg behind the right and left hand on the floor.
    • Explode up, switching legs and hand while midair. That's 1 rep.
    • Repeat, quickly moving side to side.
  • Katie Dunlop

    Long Jump

    • Start with feet shoulder-width apart with heels in, toes slightly out.
    • Squat down with butt tucked under, bringing hands to the floor.
    • Push through heels and explode up and forward, reaching arms overhead.
    • Land gently from toe to heel.
    • Repeat while trying to jump up and forward a few feet each time.
  • Katie Dunlop

    Lunge Jump

    • Start in a reverse lunge, making sure front knee doesn't go past ankle.
    • Swing arms to help propel you and explode up, switching leg positions midair.
    • Land gently, immediately lowering into another lunge. Quickly repeat, switching legs each time.
  • Katie Dunlop

    Reverse Lunge Knee-Up

    • Start in a reverse lunge, bringing the opposite hand of forward leg toward the floor.
    • Explode up, pushing off the front toes and driving back knee up toward the sky.
    • Land softly, immediately lowering back into reverse lunge, hand on floor.
    • Continue for 30 seconds on same leg. In second set, switch legs.
  • Katie Dunlop

    Plank to Squat

    • Start in a high plank (push-up position), shoulders stacked over wrists, core engaged.
    • Gently bend knees and hop forward, bringing feet to the outside of hands to land in a deep squat.
    • Push through the hands to lift hips and jump back into a plank.
  • Katie Dunlop

    Squat Jump

    • Start with feet just slightly wider than hip-width apart.
    • Squat down, bringing hands to the floor.
    • Push through heels and toes and explode up.
    • Land gently from toe to heel, immediately lowering back into a squat.
  • Katie Dunlop

    Tuck Jump

    • Start with feet hip-width apart. Bring weight into heels as you sit back and down slightly (not into a full squat).
    • Swing arms and explode up, tucking knees into chest while bringing elbows to meet in the middle.
    • Land gently from toe to heel.

 

Samantha Lefave

Samantha is a writer who is living, eating and sweating her way through NYC. You can find her running half-marathons like it's her job, Instagramming her favorite food and fitness finds or, let's be honest, eating peanut butter straight from the jar.

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