Video: Tour de Force
NFL player-turned Equinox Trainer Kyle Hunt redefines the precision and power of plyometric training.
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No it’s not a bird, or a plane, or Superman. And Equinox Tier 3+ trainer Kyle Hunt might not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but he can jump out of water that’s nearly waist-deep on his 6 foot, 4 inch frame, hop right over a 3-foot box and clear a 10-foot long jump — amongst other things. It’s all thanks to the strong plyometric training he mastered as a tight end in the NFL — well, that and genetic blessings. And now, combined with an education from the Equinox Fitness Training Institute, Hunt is grooming his clients at the 50th Street club in New York City to do the same.
"I incorporate plyometric and power exercises into my clients’ routines regularly because it is a fast and effective way to burn calories, build muscular power and endurance, improve balance and increase athleticism," says Hunt, “And during explosive movements, muscles contract at a greater force than they do during standard strength training exercises, which can help speed results.”
The magic is in the stretch shortening cycle, or "the rubber band effect." Take a standard plyometric jump, for example. During the loading phase (when you squat down) the muscle fibers in the quadraceps stretch. The extra length that results from the stretch generates more force on the contraction, like the tension on a rubber band. This rapid contraction is the root of the power during the explosive phase (the jump).
And whether you’re jumping two feet or ten feet, the same rules apply. “You can get results from plyometrics at any level,” says Hunt, “I do these same moves — except for the water jump, which I consider more of a fun party trick — with my clients, just a regressed version. Since you’re working with an increased amount of force production from these moves, it’s important to build a solid base first and increase intensity gradually to reduce your risk of injury.”
His tips: Consider every movement full body and utilize the strength in your arms, core and legs; land in the middle of your foot with bent knees and chest lifted. The better your form, the greater your power.