Want to turn around a bad day? Take a cue from David Lee Roth: You might as well jump. Plyometrics (the science-y word for "explosive movement") can transform your body and elevate your mood.
Next time you feel like kicking a wall, pull on your most supportive jog bra and give this three-part calorie- and angst-burning workout -- developed by former boxer Michael Olajide Jr. of Aerospace High Performance Center in New York City -- a whirl instead. Do one of the following exercise sequences for a killer 10-minute workout, or string them together for an all-out, calorie-torching, 30-minute endorphin fest. You'll feel lighter -- and happier -- in no time.
What it does: Works heart, strengthens arms, and tightens abs
How to do it: With left foot forward, abs tight, and fists up, punch straight ahead with right arm, twisting torso left, then punch with left arm, twisting torso right (next image). Gradually pick up speed, punching as fast as you can after 1 minute. Do 4 sets.
What it does: Tones shoulders, glutes, and quads
How to do it: Step left foot forward 2 to 3 feet. Bend knees into a lunge and punch left. Don't let the front knee extend beyond toes. As you rise back up, punch right (next image). Switch stance and repeat for 30 seconds each side.
What it does: Builds cardiovascular fitness and improves coordination
How to do it: Stand with your feet a couple of inches apart, knees slightly bent, and weight on the balls of your feet. Hold the jump rope handles in your fingers with elbows close to ribs. Begin turning the rope by rotating your wrists. Hop straight up just a few inches off the floor -- jumping too high is a recipe for sore joints. Land with soft knees.
"The right music isn't just a mood changer -- it also helps you set and maintain a jumping rhythm," says exercise-music specialist Chris Lawhorn of runhundred.com. He's compiled a playlist of songs that cruise along at or near 150 beats per minute (bpm) -- just the right tempo for a jump-rope workout. Skip to that pace to keep your heart rate, and spirits, way up.
(The models appearing in this gallery are company members of the Graham II dance troupe: Amanda Harring, Ashley Witson, Carolina Rivera, Yuriko Hiroura, Laureen Elizabeth, Benjamin Gaspard, and Zachary Tracz. Martha Graham Dance Company will be performing March 15 - 20, 2011 at the Rose Theater in the Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.)