Tackling Plyometric Training

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Why is football so thrilling to watch? Few other popular sports combine strength and speed in such a way that you are treated to a display of raw power. Rawrrr! We are lucky to have the Austin Outlaws to show us how it’s done. What do they have that we want, and how do we get it? Pure Austin fitness specialist Jodi Jones took some time to show us some great plyometric exercises to build the power we all crave. You can perform these exercises on their own or mix them in to your regular workout routine. You’ll be that much more ready for pick-up football games in the park or maybe you can even join the team!

Jodi says: plyometric training is one of the most effective ways to help football athletes improve their explosive speed and power. You must develop a solid, well-balanced strength base before beginning plyometrics. Perform plyometric exercises at the start of a session, following a thorough warmup. Actions should be at high speed and with maximum intensity while maintaining high quality.

Double Leg Hops

This is a medium-intensity plyometric exercise. Stand in an upright position with knees slightly bent and feet shoulder- width apart. Lower your body by flexing knees and rapidly explode upward and to the front. Swing arms forcefully upward and out. Concentrate on maximizing the distance traveled for- ward, staying low to the ground. Land with knees bent and immediately repeat the jump. Perform exercise for a total of 30 yards and repeat as necessary. Rest two to three minutes between multiple sets. Avoid hard surfaces.

High Knee Skips

This is a high-intensity plyometric exercise. Begin by driving the right knee up until the top of the thigh is parallel to the ground while exploding off the ground with the left foot. Upon landing, bring the right foot down and drive the left knee up and repeat. Arms should be bent at 90 degrees with a chin-to- hip range of motion. Try to obtain as much height as possible with each skip. Perform exercise for a total of 30 yards and repeat as necessary. Rest two to three minutes between multiple sets. Avoid hard surfaces.

Agility

Since football is a game of multi-directional movement, agility training is very important. It is an excellent way to improve foot speed, quickness and coordination. Agility drills should be performed at the start of a session, following a thorough warmup. Your muscles should be fresh to ensure good quality of movement. Agility drills are usually best performed in late pre-season training and during the competitive season.

Side-To-Side Drills

Stand to the right of a line on the floor with feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Begin by jumping side to side over the line as quickly as you can, staying on the balls of your feet and keeping your upper body relaxed. During the drill, per- form tuck jumps with a 180-degree turn and continue the side- to-side jump facing the other direction. Keep ground contact time to a minimum. Perform the drill for 60 seconds and rest 60 seconds between sets.

Triangle Drill

Set up three cones in a right triangle (5 yards between each cone). Move around the cones, twice from the right and twice from the left. Perform the following movement patterns with maximum effort, resting 60 seconds between each pattern:

  • Back pedal to the first cone, sprint to the second, backpedal to the start
  • Shuffle to the first cone, sprint to the second, backpedal to the start
  • Sprint to the first cone, back pedal to the second, sprint to the start
  • Sprint to the first cone, back pedal to the second, shuffle to the start

Jodi really brings out some great exercises that deserve to be added to any workout routine. Plyometrics are tough stuff, so consider cycling them in to your workout slowly, maybe two times a week, and increasing the volume, as you get more comfortable. As Jodi says, keep the movements precise, and maintain regular core work to preserve your movement integrity. Then sit back and reap the benefits of your newfound power!

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