plyometrics workout

20-Minute Workout:Plyometrics

Become a faster, stronger, injury-proof athlete with this routine.

While you can carve a tantalizingly toned body in less than a half hour, we’re here to tell you what you already know: To reap the rewards—increased calorie burn, strength, power, blissful endorphin high—truncated workouts must be insanely intense. So we asked a team of Equinox trainers and group fitness instructors what they would do if they were given just 20 minutes to have at it. Here is the latest in the series:

The Pro: David Otey, personal training manager at Equinox Sports Club in New York City

The Workout: While actually running is certainly necessary to get better at running, hitting the weight room could be your secret speed-enhancing weapon. Specifically, adding in plyometrics can help boost your proprioception (your body’s awareness of where it is in space), your reaction time, power generation, joint integrity, and individual leg development, according to Otey. “Joints take a pounding on a run so it is important for the body to know how to properly absorb this force,” he explains. “A plyometric program can do just that—and ward off back, hip, and knee injuries,” he adds.

But outside of ensuring you get plenty of power moves in the latter half of this routine, you’ll start with a focus on building strength—unilaterally—in the hamstrings and glutes. “Because running is always a forward motion, most injuries are due to disproportionate strength between the front and back of the leg. The more we can work on the deceleration, which is mainly hamstrings and glutes, the stronger your running conditioning will be,” says Otey.

The barbell hip thrust is perhaps the cornerstone of this routine: Hip-dominant movements, such as the barbell hip thrust, can help with horizontal movement efficiency (AKA running), according to research by Dr. Bret Contreras. In other words, you may find you’re able to run faster and for longer.

Due to increased stress on the joints and bone, plyometric training is best integrated into your program no more than twice a week. 

Directions: Complete each of the following exercises, one after the next. For the first 3 (strength training) exercises, do 3 sets of 12 reps of each move with 90 seconds rest between sets. For the last 3 (plyometric) exercises, complete 3 sets of 10 reps of each move with 90 seconds rest between sets.