December 2006
Andy and JamieWelcome to our December newsletter. This month we present the training technique known as Plyometrics. These exercises will add power to your workout! In the Fitness Tip, the concept of HIIT is introduced. High Intensity Intervals can take your fitness to new levels. Lastly, In Ask the Trainer, Andy and Jamie offer some advice on the difference between different muscle types. Good Luck and Happy Holidays!

The Balazs Team - Knock Yourself Out!


Boxing Drill #37: Plyometric Training for Power
Strength and speed are integral components of boxing. Jumping, bounding and hopping exercises have been used in various ways to enhance athletic performance. In recent years this distinct method of training for power and explosiveness has been called Plyometrics. Plyometrics is a method of training that seeks to enhance the explosive reaction of the individual through powerful muscular contractions.

Plyometric exercises force specific muscles to reach their maximum strength in a short amount of time, thereby increasing the muscles' overall power.

A thorough warm-up, such as jogging, skipping, marching (hi knees) or walk lunges, is essential prior to plyometric training. A cool down should follow each session.

Here are several examples of Plyometric exercises for the legs.

Agility lateral hops:
Standing tall with hands resting behind your head, and elbows pointing to out the sides. Mark a line on the floor and quickly jump from one side to the other. Keep your feet low to the ground. Focus on speed. Try three sets or 12 to 15 jumps.

Agility single-leg lateral hops:
Advanced Same as above, but only one leg at a time. Try two sets of 12 each leg.

Lateral hops with step:
Advanced Place a standard aerobic step on the floor. Jump over the step, width wise, making sure to get enough height to clear the step. Try three sets of 15 jumps.

Tuck Jump:
Standing on a soft surface, jump straight up so your knees are high in front of your body. Focus on quick explosive jumps high of the ground. Start with 3 sets of 15 jumps.

Plyometrics are high impact on the joints. This is an advanced exercise for individuals with an advanced fitness level. If you are just starting a fitness regimen, discuss other fitness options with your doctor.

Andy & Jamie's Health & Fitness Tip:HIIT - High Intensity Interval Training
Practice HIIT! This is the acronym for High Intensity Interval Training. The idea with HIIT is to perform your cardiovascular training in 2 different "zones". Zone 1 is your "cruising speed", which is the speed and/or resistance that keeps you inside your Target Heart Rate (THR) zone. Zone 2 is significantly more intense, cranking your heart rate to well above the THR, approaching or surpassing 80% of your Maximum Heart Rate.

The concept is pretty simple. No matter what form of cardiovascular training you are doing, you spend the first 5 minutes or so gradually increasing the intensity so that you are at your cruising speed of approximately 70% of your maximum heart rate. Once in your THR zone, every 1 to 4 minutes, crank the speed or resistance up to a higher level to increase your heart rate to at least 80% to 85% of your max.

When working out at the higher level of intensity, this is known as the "interval", hence the name High Intensity Interval Training. Perform your interval for 1 to 2 minutes, after which you should be VERY ready to slow things back down to your cruising speed. Once you are back to cruising speed, go another 1 to 4 minutes, and then repeat the whole process.

This type of training confuses your body, forcing it to find ways to keep up with the energy demand; this prevents the body from slipping into a comfortable rhythm. You will burn more calories in a shorter amount of time, crank your metabolism up significantly higher, and improve the maximum cardiac output of your heart, all at the same time! If you are looking for a way to shorten your workouts, but lose weight more quickly, HIIT is the way to go!

Ask the Trainer:
"What is the difference between fast twitch muscle fibers and slow twitch muscle fibers, and how can I train each for maximum effectiveness?"

Fast twitch muscle fibers are a type of muscle fiber in the human body that tends to be very strong, but the strength does not last for very long. Slow twitch muscle fibers, on the other hand, are not as strong, but they can put forth a continuous effort over a longer period of time. The calf and abdominal muscles are usually slow twitch muscle fibers, while the muscles of the chest, back, and shoulders tend to be fast twitch muscle fibers.

In order to train each type of muscle fiber for maximum effectiveness, simply train your muscles and all of your bodily tissues as you expect them to be used in life. If you are training for a sport or athletic event, train your body in whatever way is going to bring the most benefit to that activity. If you are just training for general functional strength and health for life, then utilize many different exercise modalities, as well as differing weights and number of repetitions.

- Andy Dumas

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Product Recommendations:
DD0201 i-Box: Fitness Boxing Fundamentals DVD
GS0135 Balazs Combo Boxing Gloves
MS0433 i-Box Speed Bag Platform
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Endorsed by the World Boxing Council
Balazs fitness tips are endorsed by the World Boxing Council.