Plyometric training exercises build power and speed, improve coordination and agility, and most importantly, effectively improve sports performance. They are specialized, high-intensity training techniques, which are used to develop athletic power. To do these exercises, explosive muscular contractions are used to invoke the stretch reflex. Some of the most commonly used exercises are hops, jumps, and bounding movements.
Training includes practicing movements to toughen tissues and train nerve cells so as to stimulate a specific pattern of muscle contraction so that the muscle generates a strong contraction in the least amount of time. In a plyometric contraction, first there is a rapid muscle lengthening movement, which is followed by a short resting phase, and then an explosive muscle shortening movement, which helps the muscles to work together in doing the particular movement.
Exercises for the Lower Body
If you are looking for plyometric training for football, then these are the exercises which you may want to make a part of your workout routine.
This is a great exercise, which will help in strength training the legs, and also you will be able to stretch the legs. You will need a box or a bench step to do this exercise. If you do not have something similar, you can also make use of a stair. The steps to do this exercise are:
- Stand facing the bench and place your feet hip-width apart.
- Lower your torso to a semi-squat position, and without wasting any time, jump onto the bench. It is important that you do not hold the squat position, because it will hamper your jump, as your legs will get tired.
- Make sure the feet land softly on the box. Do not jump off the ball; instead, step down.
Split Squat Jumps
This is another exercise which will help in working the leg muscles. It is a medium-intensity exercise. Make sure you read the instructions properly, so as to avoid any sort of injury.
- Stand in a lunge position, by placing your left foot approximately 2 feet behind the right foot.
- You should have a staggered stance, with your head and back erect and in a neutral position.
- Lower your body by bending at the right hip and knee till the right thigh is parallel to the floor. Now, immediately jump up in the air.
- Switch your feet in the air so that when you land, your left foot is in front and the right foot is behind you.
Lateral Hurdle Jumps
To strengthen your thighs and legs, this is a must-have exercise in your workout schedule. However, you will have to be very careful when you are doing this exercise, as there are a lot of chances of you injuring yourself. You will need a bench step to do this exercise.
- Stand besides the bench so that the bench is either to your left or right side.
- Jump up in the air, bring the knees closer, and jump vertically so that you land on the other side of the bench.
- It is important that you land on both feet, as landing on one foot may cause a lot of impact on the ankle on which you have landed.
- Jump immediately to the other side. Try to keep the pause between two jumps to its minimum.
Exercises for the Upper Body
If you are a basketball player, you may want to know about plyometric exercises for the same. Along with the lower body exercises that I have just mentioned, you will also need some upper body exercises.
Over the Back Toss
This exercise will help in building upper body strength, which is required in games, like basketball. It is better to practice this exercise with a partner.
- Place your feet a little wider than your shoulders. Your partner should stand about 10 to 15 yards behind you.
- Grasp hold of the ball, lower your body into a semi-squat position, then jump up to extend your entire body, and throw the ball in your hand up and over the body.
- The aim of this exercise is to throw the ball behind you as far as you can, since you generate most of the power from your legs.
Push-ups are the best upper body exercise. They can also be done using plyometric techniques. Let's see how to do them.
- Get into the push-up position.
- Lower yourself towards the ground, and then push yourself explosively up in the air so that your hands no more touch the ground.
- Catch your fall by supporting your body again with your hands, and immediately push yourself towards the floor to repeat the exercise.
When you are doing such kind of strength training, it is important you take all the precautions, as there is a risk of injury if you do not follow all the precautionary steps. Since there is tremendous force generated during the movements, it requires the athletes to train properly.