Beg For Mercy: Top Ten Plyometric Drills

Posted: August 5, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Goooood afternoon! I hope you all had a great day today and are ready to sail into the weekend feeling grand. If you need a little pick me up, I suggest watching Braedon’s dancing video again. It never fails to make me smile!

Earlier today I mentioned how adding a touch of plyometric moves to my workout really helps kick things up a notch. In fact, adding plyometrics to my training gives me a fun challenge every time. And the satisfaction of feeling all hard-core.

About a month ago, I shared my plyometrics obsession over on Sweet Tooth Sweet Life. Courtney assured me, however, that she wouldn’t mind me re-sharing the moves here because I wanted to make sure no one missed out on these little leg-fryers and heart-pumpers. Tuck these away to bring out to make you beg for mercy play someday soon. So - are you ready to add a little pep to your fitness? Hop on board. Quite literally!

Plyometrics: Favorite Moves & Why I Love Them

Plyometrics sounds super fancy, but basically it means jumping around like a crazy person. Why would you want to jump around like a crazy person? Well, I love plyometric training for quite a few reasons:

  • they get my heart rate going to add a cardiovascular component to my strength workouts – and thus burn more calories
  • they never fail to make my workout more challenging – you have to push out of the comfort zone to see results after all!
  • the powerful movements strengthen my body to help improve performance in activities like running
  • they make a fun addition to strength training – who doesn’t like to skip and hop?
  • they use bodyweight and are extremely versatile

Ready to see my ten favorites?! I hope so…because that’s what you’re getting. This isn’t one of those choose your own story books. Although, how cool would that be?!



I love to hate these little suckers. They work so good! Start standing. Bend down, placing your hands on the ground beneath your shoulders. Pop your feet out behind you to get in a push-up position. Jump your feet back in and jump straight upward. Repeat.

Bench Jumps

bench jump

Stand in front of a sturdy bench, step, or training box that is about 2 feet off the ground. Jump up as high as you can and land softly on the bench. Step back down and repeat.

Speed Skaters

speed skaters

Jump to your right, landing on your right foot and stretching your left arm across your body. Quickly transition to the other side, jumping to your left foot and crossing the right arm across the body. Consistently switch back and forth until finished with the reps.

Squat Jumps

jump squat

Start in a squat position with your butt back, back straight, and knees over the ankles. Jump straight up as high as you can, then land softly lowering back down to a squat. Repeat continuously for reps.

Pop Lunges

pop lunge

Start in a lunge position. Jump up, switching legs in the air, and land softly lowering down into a lunge on the alternate leg. Continue jumping and alternating sides for reps.

Tuck Jumps

tuck jump

Jump up as high as you can, either tucking your knees back (kicking your butt) or pulling them up in front of you towards your chest. Continue for reps.

Power Kicks

power kick

Pull your right knee up towards your chest. Driving down with your right leg, jump and kick forward with your left foot. Repeat on the same leg for reps, then switch sides.

Plie Jacks

plie jack

Start in a low plie squat. Hop up as  high as you can and click your heels in together at the center. Land back in a plie squat. Repeat for reps.

Ski Jumps

ski hop

Stand with both feet together and a slight bend in the knees. Jump as far as you can to one side, landing softly with knees slightly bent and feet still together. Hop back to start and repeat for reps.

Mountain Climbers

mountain climbers

These aren’t technically a plyometric move, but I still love them. Position yourself in a straight arm plank position with arms straight and hands directly below the shoulders. Keep your back, hips, neck in alignment. Alternating sides, bring your knees up towards your chest in a quick and continuous motion.

There you have it! Ten of my favorite drills!

  • What things do you add to your training to amp the intensity quickly?
  • Ever used any of the moves above? Which is your favorite? If you’ve never done plyos – which move would you try first?

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55 Comments to “Beg For Mercy: Top Ten Plyometric Drills”
  1. Jess says:

    Um, you make tuck jumps look GOOD. I am a horrible tuck-jumper (or any kind of jumper for that matter). Ha! I do love *some* of these moves though — plie jacks are KILLLLER!!

  2. I started doing plyometrics after doing the Jillian Michaels Shred It DVD, then later with the Ripped in 30 set. They are killer and get you in shape fast! Plus they’re great for helping to build endurance for running. Love them!
    By the way, your arms are looking ripped!

  3. Sarah-Jane says:

    Just wanted to comment to tell you that I always love all of your posts. I really love your uplifting and positive attitude… it is really inspiring!

  4. I can’t wait to try these… I haven’t really tried much with plyometics!

  5. I love plyo! I use a lot of the moves above and also do the Insanity DVD’s which are really plyo heavy!

  6. Anna Marie says:

    I love to hate burpees also! They work so well but goooooodness doing them is no fun. Lol. I have done a few of the moves shown through doing Jillian Michaels DVDs and the Jackie Warner DVDs. I should challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone this next week with these moves! Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Rebecca says:

    I remember ski jumps and speed skaters from Gym class… Those were actually kind of my favorites when we did workout video stuff. They made me laugh! Which made me trying to workout seem more fun, lol! Most of the time we did 8-Minute Abs which most of us hated by the end. But the days we did the ski jump and speed skating stuff weren’t so bad!

  8. I heart plyo! I did p90x last summer and insanity this summer, so I’ve done my fair share of plyometrics! I use burpees, tuck jumps, jump squats, and most the other moves you showed with my PT client and in my own workouts. I love them all (not exactly while doing them though). Also, to add intensity to some of my strength workouts, I’ll add in pullups. Killer.

  9. Plyometrics are fantastic. I can do most even with my back and they have me begging for mercy by the end.

  10. G says:

    This may be a very silly question but I’m going to ask it anyways. Where do you do these moves in your gym? My gym has the weight section, the cardio machine section and a small “ab” section with some mats on the floor but that’s it. Do you just find a quiet, open space in the weight room? I’m guess I’m just curious on what the “protocol” is for this!

    • Tina says:

      I usually use our gym’s ab/mat area or any open area I can find in the weights zone. Usually there is enough space for moves alongside whatever bench or machine I may be using in a superset with them. Hope that helps! 🙂

      And I’ve gotten used to the crazy looks. 😉 LOL

  11. teresa says:

    Wow! Great mid air photos of you!
    It looks like so much fun. I will have to wait until I get much of this weight off before I attempt jumping up and down. I honestly don’t know how the contestants on The Biggest Loser do it. It can’t be good…
    I love seeing you do it though!

  12. I love adding in some plyos :). Mountain climbers about killed me in my workout today!

  13. vivoir says:

    my blog today will give you insight into my most recent workout changes- to keep it fresh and varied. though always, always to maintain the fact that i want progress and results

    love plyos! i actually have to watch out i don’t do them too often… that’s not normal is it?!!!!

  14. I love adding plyos. I even do the P90x plyometrics workout when I want to switch things up. My favorite move is the jump squat!

  15. Cate says:

    Oo! Plyo moves are killer! My knees get a little wonky so I have to be careful with a lot of jumping.
    However I sometimes add a few moves into a circuit strength workout. I like the speed skaters and mountain climbers are tough, but an effective move. I haven’t seen the power kicks one though, I will have to try that one next time!

  16. Oooo those moves are awesome! In my fav Bootcamp class we do rounds of plyos with strength moves in between. He always loves to kill us with burpees, squat jumps, speed skaters, and pop lunges…they hurt so good and it’s such an effective workout!

  17. I love plyos + actually miss doing plyos! When I was training athletes a few years ago, it was my absolute favorite thing to do because I knew it was going to make them jump higher + run faster! They are by far the best leg strengthening/power exercises you can do to improve performance in whatever sport. I also like Side Skaters (1 leg hop sideways onto other leg) and Broad Jumps (2 leg hop forward). Ugh, I miss learning about all that stuff still. I guess it’s time to look into some more classes to keep my certs up to date!

  18. Plyos do the trick everytime!

  19. Woah! this looks soo intense….I have never even heard of these 🙂

  20. I love, love, love plyometrics! It gives me that workout high like I would imagine runners get!

  21. Love all these moves. How in the heck do you look so cute doing them? He he! My favorite is forsure burpies. Mountain climbers too! 🙂

  22. Errign says:

    My strength training sessions usually involve one or two of the above moves – since I work out in a gym that’s about 10×10, I stick with jump squats and pop lunges, but thanks for reminding me about mountain climbers. I also do step ups, which are slightly slower, but still jack up my heart rate quickly.

  23. Intensity? I’ve been doing bodyrock. Oh. My. Gosh.

  24. Lauren says:

    Ugh, Plyo work is the death of me! But I oddly LOVE it. 🙂

  25. I actually really like burpees and mountain climbers. Not too many in a row, mind you, but if I’m going to do plyos, those are the ones I’m most likely to do. Plie jumps KILL my joints. I feel like I’m five minutes away from blowing all the joints from my hips down out whenever I try them, so I generally avoid them.

  26. Carly says:

    I regularly do burpees, mountain climbers, squat jumps, tuck jumps, and pop lunges. I also love pop squat – deep squat, jump the feet in together, immediately jump the feet out and squat back down – repeat. I too try to add plyos to my workouts.

  27. I’m glad you decided to repost these! I’ve been looking for plyometric moves to add to my workout routines so I can keep my heart rate up. The one I absolutely hate is burpees! OMG! They’re terrible but they jack my heart rate up so quickly! A move that I like is the power kicks and the plie jacks.

  28. I love plyometrics but i can usually never do them myself…i have to be in a class where someones pushing me!

  29. Some of those actually look like fun!

  30. I love plyometrics. They are great to add onto days when I strength train because it gives that cardio element. My favorite are burpees. They kill me every time but I feel such a sense of accomplishment afterwards.

  31. This is a great tutorial, Tina! I do plyometrics for 2-3 minutes every morning, right after rolling out of bed. My routine (jumping jacks, jump squats and pop lunges) wakes me up quite well, however there are mornings when it feels pretty brutal. 🙂

    I’ve gotten myself into a bit of a rut with those three moves, so I’m excited to be equipped with a few more to mix things up. I’m not sure burpees will be happening until I have coffee in me, but I think I can handle plie jacks and power kicks. 😉

  32. If I wasn’t so sore today from a killer lower body work out I did this morning I’d so do these tomorrow!

  33. Hilary says:

    I’m not sure I agree with your definition of “fun.” I’ve done some shape or form of all of these before though. To add intensity to my workouts, I like to space out my cardio/strength training and mix it up a bit.

  34. Sophie says:

    Ooh this is a great post 🙂
    Thanks for writing this, I just favourited it for my next workout!

  35. I love Ski sliders. You don’t feel like you’re doing anything, and then the next two days your butt hurts so badly!

  36. Emily says:

    I literally laughed out loud as I read this because I kept looking at the pictures and saying “hate this one…hate this..” but that’s because they’re all SO good for you!! I am so not a plyometrics lovin’ girl, they remind me of double sessions in high school! Awesome work on being so fit Tina, you amaze me every day!

  37. Ela says:

    Thanks for sharing these! I’ve been doing squat jumps and jump lunges–they kill me! Also burpees, but I’d been going down into a pushup as well–I could probably do more if I don’t have to go down each time. Great reminder of good ways to keep moving!

  38. Thank you!!!!! I just booked marked this post! I use many of these drills when I teach bootcamp but 1 or 2 were new to me! I especially love the plie jacks…I may be using that this week 🙂 My clients will definitely be begging for mercy!

  39. Elaine says:

    Whew! I just got tired looking at all your pictures! 🙂

  40. Stephanie says:

    The fact that I said “ow, ow, ow” while reading this post probably means that I need to do more plyometrics, huh? Ha!

  41. […] 2: (I was inspired by some plyometric moves that were posted on Faith, Fitness, Fun a few days […]

  42. You’re a lady after my own heart Tina!! I looooove plyos too! And these are all so awesome. Burpees are so good for total body training, and the tuck jumps are pretty insane too! I love this, “In fact, adding plyometrics to my training gives me a fun challenge every time. And the satisfaction of feeling all hard-core.” It’s exactly how I feel. I like to think of it as “body”weight training with challenging cardio. 😀

  43. Jump Around says:

    […] my REAL journey back to fitness! Powered by WP Greet Box WordPress PluginNo, this isn’t another plyometrics post. Instead, its how I spent my late […]

  44. […] Leap-ups or Jump-ups (I don’t really know what to call this; basically you squat down and then jump straight up as high as you can and repeat; the move is similar to what you would do at the end of a burpee) […]

  45. […] Ski jumps – 16 reps […]

  46. Chris says:

    Good article, but as a strength and conditioning coach, I need to point out a few things. Firstly, plyometrics are not just jumping, it’s only plyometrics if there is a stretch reflex preceding the concentric contraction. In other words the muscles are pre-loaded like a rubber band. Secondly, plyometrics in the true sense is not designed to increase heart rate, it is a power training method, meaning all movementsare to be done for low volume, low reps, moderate frequency and long rest periods. What you are doing is indeed effective for your purposes, but it’s not actually plyometrics, it’s more just high velocity training. For true plyometrics think about depth jumps, continuous bouding etc.

  47. […] Beg For Mercy: Top Ten Plyometric Drills – FAITH, … – I heart plyo! I did p90x last summer and insanity this summer, so I’ve done my fair share of plyometrics! I use burpees, tuck jumps, jump squats, and most the other … […]

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