Top of the year to the members of TheDirtybodega.com and best wishes. This article is dedicated to a different kind of Hip-Hop, hope you dig it.
Plyometrics: Prior to executing a reactive movement, I warm up with a series of dynamic stretches, some body weight exercises (squats, lunges, push ups) and some breathing exercises. I also perform a series of ballistic movements at a low height level to awaken my muscles and fine tune coordination before attempting more advanced movements. I have three different types of plyometric days where the focus varies: 1) Speed/stamina 2) Power/explosive 3) Neuromuscular/coordination development.
Plyometric Box Jump: Keep your eyes and chin up and visualize the movement before execution. Position feet shoulder distance apart and lower hips into a squatting position. Be sure to shift gluteus back, allowing engagement of lower torso (i.e., gluteus, hamstrings, quads, calves, anterior tibialis) activating simultaneously your upper body. Arms should be separated slightly wider than shoulder width and should swing upward in an outward to inward motion, reaching their highest point, face level. Arms should be about 8-10 inches in front of your face with the elbows bent to facilitate an upward torque motion. As you ascend from the squatting position, exhale only halfway as you leave the ground to engage your core. Then complete the exhalation upon safe landing of the platform.
Plyometric exercises enhance the function of muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves, which will overall elevate your fitness status in any sport or activity you choose to participate in.
Hands loose, knees slightly bent, breathing normal
Head up, chin up, spine neutral
Feet shoulder distance apart
Hip flexors back, gluteus back and descending downward
Arms shifting outward outside hip flexors
Back compressed, chest open, shoulders flexed back
From squat position, proceed with upward motion jumping off ball of foot
Elevate hands with bent elbows to face level
Land on object, toes first, then sole of foot to absorb shock
Resume upright position
I feel that coiling the spine through retraction of arms can cause more torque, which would ultimately turn this intense lower body workout into a full-body workout. Keeping your body relaxed until the last second also employs muscles needed to complete the exercise. The breathing technique of exhaling halfway optimizes muscle recruitment—engaging the core—to promote balance on the platform. Exhaling completely to soon can interfere with balance.
Speed and stamina: 2 sets, 50 reps of each exercise (with body weight at a low level)
Power/explosive: 2 sets, 5 reps of each exercise (with a medicine ball or a vest at a high height)
Neuromuscular and coordination: 2 sets, 25 reps of each exercise (complex footwork drills and coordination drills)
**The example below is for the power/explosive exercise day, I do 2 sets of 5
I track my breathing patterns, but I do not check my heart rate, as I am usually in-tune with the rate just off of feeling. Between sets I take no more than a 60-second rest. I have used Tabata Timing for a few plyo drills, but not for this particular advanced movement.
Plyometric drills can be modified for either the beginner or elite athlete, however prior to attempting these drills on any level, one should make sure another person is in the room or function as a spotter. One must have a reasonable amount of flexibility, strength and balance in the muscles to be utilized, and most importantly, get clearance from a physician, coach or trainer before taking on this next level of training. Keep Hip-Hop alive in fitness too.
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