To perform and land a plyo jump correctly, keep the shoulders and knees in alignment with one another. Have you ever heard of the Hobie Hop? If not, you are in for a treat. This was obstacle number four at the Spartan Military Race 2013. At the start of this obstacle, each participant was given a heavy weight rubber band (about 3") to place around their ankles. Each participant then had to hop...or in some cases waddle, up the side of a hill. Add to that the fact that approximately every 2 feet there was barbed wire stretched taut across the width of the hill, and the wire was anywhere from 12" to 18" off the ground, causing one to have to hop up and over the wire, up hill, with ankles banded together. At the top of the hill, then each participant had the joy of running, or again waddling...back down. You might ask how one would train for such an event....and the answer is Plyometric jumps. Our Summit Fit Dojo Spartans were more than ready for the Hobie Hop, due to their awesome core and lower body strength, obtained from months and months of plyo box jumps, tire jumps, high knee tucks, and jump squats. When performing these exercises, one must keep their feet together, hold the core muscles tight, and tuck or pull their knees up towards their chest with an explosive jumping motion, giving optimum vertical height. When training in plyometric exercises, think of shooting a rubber band. It starts off loose and relaxed. What happens if you pull on the rubber band? It becomes "loaded" if you will, with pressure, or force. Then when you release the rubber band, the force that was just loaded causes it to explosively shoot across the room (hopefully not poking someone's eye out!) This is what is happening with your legs and lower half when performing a plyo jump. The muscles and tendons in your legs are quickly stretched, creating and storing elastic energy. Then as you explode into your jumping motion, tucking or pulling the knees up towards the chest, all of the muscle groups act as a stretched rubber band wanting to turn back to its original form and length. As with any type of training, proper form is a must. To perform and land a plyo jump correctly, one must keep the shoulders and knees in alignment with one another, with flexion coming from the hips, knees, and ankles. If any of these points are not properly aligned, balance will be thrown off, increasing the chances of an injury. Luckily, our team made it through the Hobie Hop with no injuries. So if you are looking to take on plyometric training, or just increase your overall fitness and nutrition level, let Summit Fit Dojo help you!