Layer plyometric moves to create a class that everyone can do.
Classes that appeal to athletes often intimidate many beginning- and intermediate-level exercisers; however, participants of all levels can do a challenging plyometrics class if you give them options. Jumping, in fact, can provide a foundation for inclusive, fun and effective training. By teaching with layers, you facilitate self-paced progression that challenges everyone.
FORMAT: Layered plyometric intervals using a step platform.
TOTAL TIME: Approximately 1 hour. Each five-layer block can take anywhere from 1 minute 45 seconds to 3 minutes. Repeating each block twice, using six different blocks, can take anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes. Add the warm-up and cool-down to complete the class.
EQUIPMENT: One step platform per participant; however, other equipment can easily be incorporated.
MUSIC: High-energy music set to 130 beats per minute. This will help you keep time for your intervals without a stopwatch.
- In each block include five levels of the same exercise, taught in 15- to 30-second layers (one or two 32-count musical phrases).
- Help everyone feel successful by beginning with layer one and progressing gradually to layer five.
- Stay on each layer for at least 15–30 seconds (one 32-count phrase is approximately 15 seconds for music set at 130 bpm).
- Move to the next layer, and advise students to remain at the previous one if they don’t want to progress.
- After introducing all five intervals, encourage students to choose a level of difficulty just beyond their comfort zone for a final 30-second, all-out push.
- Include a 30- to 60-second active recovery between rounds.
- Repeat each interval 2–4 times, switching lead legs on unilateral exercises.
Always provide a thorough warm-up before performing plyometric drills. Keep movements simple and athletic, and gradually increase intensity. Include layers in your warm-up to preview the class structure. Here are some appropriate exercises for an athletic interval class like this one:
- Start with step-touch that becomes small side-to-side leap, and then a big leap. Return to step-touch, and repeat.
- Do basic squat that becomes double-time squat, and then add small hop. Return to squat, and repeat.
- March on floor, and transition to basic step on platform; then jog on platform. Return to march, and repeat.
- Layer 1: Step up and down on platform (basic step).
- Layer 2: Remaining on floor, jump forward and step back.
- Layer 3: Jump up onto platform; step down.
- Layer 4: Jump up onto platform; jump down.
- Layer 5: Jump up onto platform and land in squat position to touch platform. Jump down and squat to touch platform again.
- Layer 1: Do repeater knee on floor.
- Layer 2: Do repeater knee on platform.
- Layer 3: Do repeater knee; hop on third knee lift.
- Layer 4: Do repeater knee; hop on first and third knee lifts.
- Layer 5: Do repeater knee; hop on all three knee lifts.
- Switch sides.
Turn platform to vertical position.
- Layer 1: Do step-touch on floor.
- Layer 2: Step over platform laterally and tap toe on platform.
- Layer 3: Step over platform and lift knee.
- Layer 4: Leap over platform and tap toe on floor.
- Layer 5: Jump laterally over platform with feet together.
- Layer 1: With hands on platform, hold plank for 8 counts. Step feet in and stand up.
- Layer 2: With hands on platform, do burpee and step up onto platform.
- Layer 3: With hands on platform, do burpee and jump onto platform.
- Layer 4: With hands on floor, do burpee and jump onto platform.
- Layer 5: With hands on floor, do burpee with push-up; then jump onto platform.
- Layer 1: Do right (R) basic on platform, alternating with step-touch R and left (L) on floor.
- Layer 2: Do R basic on platform, alternating with leap R and L on floor.
- Layer 3: Jog R onto platform, alternating with leap R and L on floor.
- Layer 4: Jump onto platform, alternating with leap R and L on floor.
- Layer 5: Jump onto platform, alternating with jump R and L on floor.
Turn platform to vertical position.
- Layer 1: Straddle platform (step up and down with one foot coming down on each side of platform).
- Layer 2: Jump forward on floor (one foot on each side of platform); step back.
- Layer 3: Jump onto platform; step down into straddle.
- Layer 4: Jump onto platform; jump down into straddle.
- Layer 5: Jump onto platform with hands on head; jump down into straddle.
Reward students with simple cool-down that gradually decreases in intensity.
- Start with alternating toe taps on platform, and then tap just R toe forward and back. As toe taps behind you, let body hinge forward to maintain spinal alignment.
- Leave R toe behind and continue hinging from hips, R leg lifting behind as you bend forward with flat back.
- After 8 reps, hold hinged position with leg up for another count of 8. Keep arms out to sides to help with extra balance challenge.
- Repeat pattern on other side before transitioning to floor for final stretch.
Plyometric interval training is meant to be intense, but everyone can feel successful and challenged when the intervals are offered in layers. Encourage students to ease into a little bit of jumping, even if it doesn’t involve the platform, because the impact can improve bone density and joint stability. You’ll discover that students who initially stayed at the first layer will soon start progressing as they gain strength and confidence. This strength and confidence will serve them well, not only in your class, but in everything they conquer that day!