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HomeBodybuilding NewsUnleash Your Upper Body Power: Discover the Top 10 Plyometric Exercises!

Unleash Your Upper Body Power: Discover the Top 10 Plyometric Exercises!

I have been incorporating plyometrics into my clients’ training and my own workouts for over three decades. It is a fundamental component for the athletes I work with, but I also utilize it as a way to break through plateaus for intermediate and advanced exercisers. Unlike many inexperienced trainers, I don’t limit plyometric exercises to the lower body, such as squat jumps and depth jumps. Instead, I apply this dynamic training method to upper-body workouts as well. This can involve using plyometrics as a standalone training method, as an effective finisher, or even as part of the warm-up. Research suggests that incorporating plyometrics before strength training can enhance muscle recruitment and exercise performance (1). In this article, I will share my favorite upper body plyometric exercises and provide guidance on how to incorporate them into your workouts.

Plyometric exercises involve a rapid eccentric contraction, activating the stretch-shortening reflex (SSR). This reflex triggers a powerful counter-contraction, generating more force as the muscles shorten. In other words, the faster and more forcefully you load and stretch your muscles, the more force they generate. This effect is similar to stretching a rubber band and experiencing a stronger snap-back. Plyometric training increases muscle power, which is crucial for athletes in most sports. Additionally, it targets fast-twitch type 2b muscle fibers, which have the greatest potential for muscle growth. Therefore, incorporating plyometrics into your training can help improve throwing distance, punching power, rowing speed, and overall muscularity.

Now, let’s explore the ten best upper body plyometric exercises for increased power:

1. Plyo Push-Ups:
Target muscles: Pectoralis major, deltoids, triceps, core.
Plyo push-ups are well-known among exercisers, but their effectiveness as an upper body power builder is often underestimated. This exercise is ideal for those looking to enhance punching power, throwing distance, or develop strong pecs and triceps.
How to do it: Assume a classic push-up position with hands shoulder-width apart and body straight. Engage your core and shoulders. Lower your chest rapidly to the floor to load your muscles. Transition quickly into a concentric contraction by explosively extending your arms, pushing forcefully enough to lift your hands off the floor. Land on slightly bent elbows to absorb the landing and repeat.
Pro tips: If desired, clap your hands mid-rep. Place your hands on a bench to modify the exercise difficulty. Elevating your feet on a bench will make it more challenging.

2. Depth Drop Push-Ups:
Target muscles: Pectoralis major, deltoids, triceps, core.
This exercise increases the eccentric load, requiring greater control during the descent. As a result, depth drop push-ups are more demanding than regular plyo push-ups, making them suitable for advanced exercisers.
How to do it: Position two platforms on the floor, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Place your hands on the platforms and assume the push-up position. Bend your arms slightly, push off the platforms, and land with your hands on the floor. Rapidly lower your chest to the floor and explosively extend your arms. “Jump” your hands back onto the platforms and repeat.
Pro tips: Start with platforms that are 6 to 8 inches high and gradually increase the height. Avoid this exercise if you have a history of wrist, elbow, or shoulder problems. Maintain a tight core and straight body throughout.

3. Tall Kneeling Med Ball Chest Pass:
Target muscles: Pectoralis major, deltoids, triceps, core.
While plyo and depth drop push-ups are effective, they may be too challenging for some individuals. This medicine ball exercise targets the same muscles but is more scalable, making it suitable for all fitness levels.
How to do it: Kneel on the floor facing a smooth, sturdy wall. Hold a medicine ball in front of your chest and engage your core. Rapidly pull the ball into your body to load your muscles, then explosively extend your arms and push the ball towards the wall. Catch the ball as it bounces back and repeat.
Pro tips: You can perform this exercise with a partner, passing the ball between you. Increase core engagement by leaning back before each throw. Use a foam pad or folded mat for added comfort.

4. Tall Kneeling Overhead Medicine Ball Throw:
Target muscles: Latissimus dorsi, triceps, core.
This exercise is particularly beneficial for soccer players, basketball players, javelin throwers, and anyone else who needs to throw from an overhead position. It primarily targets the lats and triceps, making it a valuable overall power exercise. The kneeling position ensures that the upper body does the majority of the work.
How to do it: Kneel in front of a smooth, sturdy wall. Hold a medicine ball with both hands. Engage your core and shoulders. Rapidly extend your arms overhead, throwing the ball towards the wall. Catch the ball as it returns and repeat.
Pro tips: Start with a moderate weight medicine ball and adjust as needed. Maintain proper form by keeping your core tight and body straight throughout the exercise.

These are just the first four upper body plyometric exercises. For the remaining six exercises and further guidance on incorporating them into your workouts, please visit [source link].

Please remember that these exercises involve a significant impact and could potentially cause joint injuries. Only attempt them if you have a decent level of strength and conditioning, and after completing a thorough warm-up.

(Source: [source link])

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Stan Quinn
Stan Quinn
Stan Quinn, the founder of "The Body Builder" and formerly Body Guider, isn't just a business owner – he embodies the spirit of holistic fitness. With a degree in sports nutrition, Stan blends academic knowledge with practical expertise, ensuring that his gym members receive not just physical training but also nutritional guidance tailored to their unique needs. Over the years, Stan's passion for fitness has extended beyond the gym's walls. As a fervent sports enthusiast, he understands the intricacies of athletic performance and is dedicated to helping both amateur athletes and fitness novices achieve their goals. Under his leadership, "The Body Builder" has grown from a mere gym to a comprehensive fitness hub where every member feels empowered, educated, and inspired. Stan's commitment to excellence, combined with his in-depth understanding of sports nutrition, makes him a revered figure in the fitness community.

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