The best way to increase your performance in power sports is by training with plyometrics.  Plyometrics train the nervous system to engage large muscle groups quickly while you move.  By rapidly stretching and contracting large muscle groups, called the stretch-shortening cycle, you can increase the strength and power in the muscles.  Plyometrics create great force and overload on the muscles which helps produce this increase in muscle power.  It is suggested that you begin a weight training routine before attempting plyometrics.

So then what are some of the plyometric exercises that you can do?  It is important to stress that regardless of your training experience you should always start off slowly and progress conservatively.

In this section I will list give some examples of beginning exercises that will increase to more advanced plyometric movements.  The first exercise that everyone should start out with is calf jumps.  To do this exercise stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips.  Bend your knees slightly and using you calf muscles mainly jump rapidly in place for 10 repetitions.   There are many different variations to this exercise that you can progress to as you gain power in this movement.

In order to increase your jumping power a great plyometric exercise is the squat jump.  To perform this exercise stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent. Squat down slightly and explode upward driving your arms upward.  As you land retract your arms and squat down.  Jump again in a quick and deliberate explosive movement.   Repeat this sequence for 5-10 repetitions.

Variations of the squat jump are the tuck squat jumps and mule kick squat jumps.  Do not attempt to move on to an advanced movement until you have conditioned your body with the basic squat jump.  Even though you may feel like you can.

An intermediate plyometric exercise is the lunge jump.  To perform this exercise, stand in the same position as the squat jump.  First jump up explosively.  Then land in a split leg position with the right leg in front and slightly bent.  Quickly and explosively jump back up and reverse the legs when landing.  During this exercise try and jump as high as possible keeping your body straight.

Another great plyometric exercise to increase leg power is the standing long jump.  This exercise is performed by first creating a start line.  This can be done with calk or by scratching a line in the dirt.  Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your toes at the start line.  Bend your knees and bring your arms below your waist.  In an explosive movement, jump extending your arms, hips, knees and ankles as far as possible.  Try and jump out as far as you can.

The variations of this exercise include the multiple standing long jump and standing triple jumps.  Do not move on to advanced exercise until you have conditioned your body to do so.

Some of the greatest athletes in the world utilize plyometric exercises into the conditioning routines.  Lifting weights will not give you the benefit of explosive power in order to compete at a high level of athletic competition.  You need to decide if you want to improve in your sport or become a bodybuilder, powerlifter, or fitness competitor.  These exercises will not help you improve in those sports as weight training alone will not help you perform better on the field, court, track, or mat.

As a Specialist in Strength and Conditioning I can help you get prepared to out perform your competition through my Elite Sports Training Programs!

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