Plyometric exercises—sometimes called plyo exercises—are bodyweight exercises that include an explosive movement such as a jump. The explosiveness of plyometric workouts helps build muscle and elevate your heart rate for an effective cardio workout. Plyometric training programs are common among athletes looking to increase their athletic performance by developing greater explosive power and speed. \n\nPlyometric exercises build muscle by what's known as the stretch-shortening cycle, in which concentric contraction (shortening muscles) is followed by eccentric contraction (lengthening muscles). These muscle contractions help stretch muscle fibers, improving the body's quickness and elasticity.\nConsider some of the best plyometric exercises to incorporate into your next training session. \n\n1. __Lateral jumps__: [Lateral jumps](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/lateral-jumps-exercise-guide) are a plyo exercise that uses your bodyweight to work muscles throughout your entire body. Perform lateral jump exercises by beginning in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees and hips to lower yourself into a quarter-squat position. Perform an explosive vertical jump with a lateral movement to your side. Repeat this jump toward the opposite side and continue this movement back and forth for the desired amount of repetitions.\n2. __Burpees__: [Burpees](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/burpee-guide) are performed by moving from a standing position to a squat position, then kicking your legs back and getting into a plank position. At the end of each repetition, you stand and jump off the ground before moving on to the next rep.\n3. __Skater jumps__: Perform the [skater jump](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/skater-jump-exercise-guide) exercise by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Make a lateral jump movement by extending your right foot and jumping to the side. Swing your right arm in front of your body and your left arm behind with a speed skater movement. Land softly on your right foot and repeat this movement with the opposite leg, jumping side-to-side for the desired number of repetitions.\n4. __Squat jumps__: Squat jumps, also known as squat jacks, are a bodyweight exercise that combines cardio and strength training to deliver a full-body workout. To perform squat jacks, start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Jump your feet out wide into a sumo squat position, then jump your feet back to hip-width apart before repeating.\n5. __Box jumps__: [Box jumps](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/box-jumps-guide) are a plyometric exercise that targets your lower body muscles, including the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. Perform the box jump by making a vertical jump up to a box or elevated surface. With proper form, this jump training exercise can add cardio into your strength training workout routine.\n6. __Tuck jumps__: Perform [tuck jumps](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/tuck-jump-exercise-guide) by beginning in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart. While keeping your upper body tall, bend your knees, hips, and calves until your lower body is in a quarter squat position. Push into the ground and jump with an explosive movement. While in mid-air, raise your knees toward your chest. Land softly, returning to a quarter-squat position. Repeat this jumping movement for your desired number of repetitions.\n7. __Plyometric lunges__: To practice [plyometric lunges](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/ply-lunges-guide), start in a standing lunge position, placing your right foot behind you so that your legs make an upside-down V-shape. Once in the starting position, lower down into the lunge position, bending your knees so that each knee is bent at a 90-degree angle. Once at the bottom of the range of motion, explode upwards in a vertical jump, switching the position of your legs in mid-air. Land gently on the balls of your feet and return to the starting position. Repeat for your desired number of repetitions. \n8. __Plyometric push-ups__: To perform plyometric push-ups, also known as [hand-release push-ups](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/hand-release-push-ups-guide), start by getting into the push-up position. Place your hands slightly beyond shoulder-width apart, keeping your legs and back straight, then lift your hands off the floor in a plyometric movement, and clap them together in between each repetition.\n\nConsider these tips to get all the benefits of plyometric exercises.\n\n1. __Focus on form__. When practicing plyometric movements, it can be easy to get ahead of yourself. Focus on form to remain in control of your workout. Reduce your risk of injury by maintaining a comfortable pace.\n2. __Warm-up with plyometric exercises__. Plyo workouts are great warm-up exercises. They kickstart your heart rate to prepare your body for cardio and strength-training workouts. \n3. __Add weights for a greater challenge__. Take your plyo workout to the next level by incorporating light weights. Many plyo exercises can be adapted to include the use of a medicine ball, dumbbells, or kettlebells.\nIf you have a previous or pre-existing health condition, consult your physician before beginning an exercise program. Proper exercise technique is essential to ensure the safety and effectiveness of an exercise program, but you may need to modify each exercise to attain optimal results based on your individual needs. Always select a weight that allows you to have full control of your body throughout the movement. When performing any exercise, pay close attention to your body, and stop immediately if you note pain or discomfort.\n\nTo see continual progress and build body strength, incorporate proper warm-ups, rest, and nutrition into your exercise program. Your results will ultimately be based on your ability to adequately recover from your workouts. Rest for 24 to 48 hours before training the same muscle groups to allow sufficient recovery. \nThrow on some athleisure, fire up a [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com), and get ready to sweat it out with exclusive instructional videos from Nike Master Trainer and *GQ* fitness specialist Joe Holder. Want to improve your cardiovascular endurance? Give Joe’s HIIT workout a go. Trying to get a little swole? He’s got a strength training workout for that. From fitness tips to nutrition hacks, Joe will have you feeling healthier in no time.\nPlyometric exercises build muscle, stability, and speed to help improve your athletic performance.