4 Ways To Boost Your Plyometric Power by Patrick Beith

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Plyometric training is an excellent supplement to your speed, strength, and power training program. Plyometrics can greatly improve your power levels and help increase body control because you’re moving your own body weight through hopping or bounding exercises, medicine ball throws, and more.


However, this type of training requires high levels of coordination, power, strength, and balance. Athletes always want to do the most advanced and most technical movements that they see the professional athletes doing in their training. Because these exercises require so much power and coordination, a progression in the structure of plyometric training (like all other aspects of training) is needed. It may not be glorious and exciting, but in the short- and long-term, learning to evolve from basic to complex movements will always reap the greatest rewards. If we jump right into single leg bounds or depth jumps without the proper progression, we’re putting our bodies at risk for avoidable injury.

Here are some introductory level plyometrics that focus on stabilization and landing technique. By learning to perform these exercises correctly, athletes will build a foundation for increasingly advanced movements requiring greater strength to body weight ratios.


Coaching cues

With each repetition, be sure to get triple extension (full extension at the ankle, knee, and hip). Cue the idea of trying to draw power from the ground by driving the heels into the ground and the hips forward with each jump.

Before landing, pull the toes up toward the shin to dorsiflex the feet. Be sure to land flatfooted. Athletes shouldn’t land heels first or land on the balls of their feet so that the heels are off the ground.


Practice landing softly. Absorb each landing with the muscles instead of joints and ligaments. This may mean dropping the hips into a half squat position upon landing. This will allow a soft landing (the feet shouldn’t make a loud noise upon contact). Reestablish balance before the next repetition. Athletes shouldn’t perform successive repetitions until their center of mass has been stabilized.


When introducing plyometric training to inexperienced athletes, keep the total number of ground contacts (the number of times the feet land on the ground) between 40 and 60. Gradually progress as technique is perfected.

Box jumps

Begin in a quarter to half squat position. Start off at low heights (12–24 inches) to establish proper form and technique. Jump up onto a box using both feet. Upon landing, if the hips drop lower than the original starting position, the box is likely too high for the athlete’s current ability. After each repetition, step down off the box.

Begin with 3–4 sets of five repetitions.

Linear hurdle hops

This drill can be done with cones or mini hurdles. Begin by using six-inch mini hurdles and allow the athletes to “graduate” to the 12-inch hurdles once they accomplish triple extension or a soft landing.


Line up six hurdles approximately 3–4 feet apart. Hop over each hurdle, focusing on all of the elements that were listed in the coaching cues section. Make sure that the athletes have their feet evenly aligned before each jump and that they’re applying equal force with each leg. Many inexperienced athletes favor one leg, and this can lead to muscle imbalances, compensation, and injury.


Begin with 3–4 sets of six hurdles.

Lateral hurdle hops

It’s important to develop lateral stability when developing the power of the complete athlete.


Use the same set up as in the linear hurdle hops. The main difference is that the athletes will now be moving laterally. Focus on the same cues as before with extra emphasis being placed on equal force exertion between the left and right leg. Athletes performing this drill have a tendency to push off with one leg instead of using both equally. When performing this drill, make sure that athletes perform an equal number of repetitions moving to the left as moving to the right. Begin with 23 sets of six hurdles in each direction.

 

Patrick Beith is the co-owner of Athletes’ Acceleration, Inc. He holds his bachelor’s of science degree in exercise physiology and is recognized by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (CSCS), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (PES), the American College of Sports Medicine (HFI), the International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA), and the USA Track and Field Coaching Level II (jumps, sprints, hurdles, and relays).

Elite Fitness Systems strives to be a recognized leader in the strength training industry by providing the highest quality strength training products and services while providing the highest level of customer service in the industry. For the best training equipment, information, and accessories, visit us at www.EliteFTS.com.









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Submitted by DMorgan on Fri, 12/28/2007 - 9:38am.

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