Ask The Trainer #139 – Plyometric Training For Fat Loss?

Ask The Trainer #139 - Plyometric Training For Fat Loss?

QUESTION:

I was wondering what your thoughts are on plyometric shock training for fat loss? A local trainer was telling me about this method of training and suggested it would be great for fat loss. Thanks.

Chris


ANSWER:

Hey Chris. Plyometric shock training is primarily used by athletes to develop rapid, short bursts of explosive power. If you’re unfamiliar with plyometric exercises, here are a few you’ve probably seen: frog squat jumps, box jumps, tuck jumps, push up to squats, and lateral triple jumps, just to name a few.

Plyometric training is ideal for athletes in sports involving jumping, like basketball or sports requiring sudden pivoting movements, like football or rugby.

Gym and club owners are always looking to be more competitive and attract new business. That’s why some offer a training method like this to people just looking to get in better shape.

Unfortunately, my general feeling is that it’s more flash than substance for the average person. But, that’s not to say these methods are totally useless.

Potential Injury

Plyometrics can be implemented safely with professional guidance, within very brief intervals. However, an exercise regimen of ONLY plyometrics, or one that incorporates it long-term, would be a recipe for disaster.

You could end up with numerous annoying injuries. Prolonged jumping and landing could potentially do serious damage to joint cartilage and tissues (such as ligaments and muscle insertions).


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It’s particularly dangerous if you have a degenerative tissue disease. These include osteoarthritis, tendonitis, neuritis, cartilage damage, herniated disks or ligament damage. Not only would it compound these injuries, but the cumulative damage could be debilitating.

As I said before, there is a safe way to implement plyometrics. That’s by training with a qualified physical therapist or trainer. Also, plyometric training should only be 5-10 minutes of a 1-hour training session.

So, is plyometrics good for fat loss? I don’t think so.

Cardio Is King

The best way to directly burn fat is cardio training. Do 15-20 minute cardio sessions with high-intensity intervals. I recommend using a 1:3 work-to-rest ratio. For example, sprint on a treadmill for 30 seconds. Then, back off to a brisk walk for 90 seconds. Alternate these intervals for 15-20 minutes.

HIIT cardio training isn’t for everyone. If you have really bad knees, ankle joints, or if you are obese, avoid this method. Instead, use lower intensity, steadfast cardio sessions. For example, walk or ride a bike at a moderate pace for 45 minutes or so.

Regardless of which cardio method you choose, I guarantee they’ll help you burn more fat than plyometrics.

I wish you all the best in reaching your fat loss goal!

Prove ‘Em Wrong,
Chad Shaw

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