Weight training moves are great but they aren’t the only way to build power in your lower body and they shouldn’t be your only method of choice either. Plyometrics serve athletes well because they help them develop the ability to generate maximum force in minimum time. If you haven’t been doing them, now is the time to start learning them and adding them into your plan.
By Roger Lockridge
Plyometrics can be performed once or twice a week. They shouldn’t necessarily be a choice for cardio but they can serve you well as part of your warm up or as specific exercises in your own program. Perform this routine for six weeks and you should see noticeable results whether you’re a young athlete training for a sport or someone who’s looking to improve general fitness.
Front Box Jump
Position a plyo box that you’re able to jump on about six to eight inches in front of where you’re standing. Place your feet shoulder width apart. Get into a squat position. Using as much force as you can generate, jump up onto the top of the box. Land on the balls of your feet. Slowly step off the box back to the floor. Do not jump back off to the floor and do not immediately jump back up as soon as you land on the floor. This can lead to serious injury. When you’re back on the floor, re-establish your position and prepare for your next jump.
Find a surface that has a little give like grass or a gymnastics floor. Don’t do these on concrete. Position your feet shoulder width apart. Lower yourself into a deep squat position and explode off of the ground. Use your entire body to get yourself as forward as possible. Mark where you landed so when you get back into position you can see how far you jumped. Try to beat your best with your next jump.
Imagine lunges with you jumping in the air. Get into a standard lunge position. Your back needs to be straight with your knees and toes pointed forward. Squat down and jump in the air as high as you can. As you’re in the air, switch the position of your legs. When you land, your feet should be opposite of where they were when you started. Once you’re set back on the floor, prepare for your next jump. Alternate your foot position with each jump.
Sample Plyometric Jump Program
Front Box Jump – 3 sets of 10 jumps. Rest two minutes between sets.
Broad Jump – 3 sets of 12 jumps. Rest two minutes between sets.
Scissor Jump – 3 sets of 10 jumps per leg. Rest two minutes between sets.
Form is crucial when it comes to plyometrics. Cheating on your reps won’t help you here. Learn the basics and master the form. Your extra commitment will be well rewarded with improved results.
As you get more experienced and improve your ability to jump, you can wear a weighted vest to add extra resistance. Don’t do these with any belts or devices that results in extra weight hanging.