Plyometric Exercises Every Young Athlete Should Know
Plyometric exercises are ideal for those who engage in high impact sports, and those who wish to build power and speed. Whether you’re a professional athlete or an athlete in training, plyometric exercises can dramatically improve your fitness, and complement your existing training schedule.
Plyometric jumps are designed to improve explosive power, and each move should be performed with maximum effort and intent. This is not regular cardio, plyometric training is very physically demanding, and therefore should be performed at a level that cannot be maintained for long periods of time. While jumps should be powerful, it is important that landings are soft to minimize the risk of injury.
There are a number of highly effective plyometric exercises that can be incorporated into your training sessions.
1. Box Jump
Box jumps are a great introduction to plyometric exercises, due to the low impact and simplicity of the exercise. The box jump is ideal for increasing vertical jump performance. The gluteus maximus is the biggest muscle in the human body, and by strengthening this muscle, you are effectively improving the power in every compound movement exercise. The front box jump predominantly works the gluteus and the quadriceps, which are essential for jumping.
To perform this exercise you would begin in a squat with a shoulder-width stance. In one powerful move, jump onto the box in front and land lightly with soft knees. Step down, and repeat.
See our video for a physical demonstration.
2. Lateral Box Jump
The lateral box jump is similar to the box jump but instead involves jumping onto a box that is placed at one’s side. Athletes don’t just travel forward, they move in multiple directions, including sideways. Lateral movements involve the recruitment of muscles that stabilize the hip including the gluteus medius and minimus. These muscles are important for quick direction changes and movements in the frontal and sagittal plane.
To perform this exercise you would begin in a squat with a shoulder-width stance. In one powerful move, perform a squat jump onto the box at your side without rotating the body, and land lightly with soft knees. Step or jump back down, and repeat.
3. Split Squat Jumps
Just like a regular lunge, but instead of stepping into the movement, you would remain in one place and simply jump to switch your stance. Split Squat Jumps are great for building explosive power of the quads and glutes while improving speed and balance.
To perform this exercise you would begin in a split squat with both knees bent. In one powerful move, jump up and switch feet so that you can land lightly into the opposite stance. Bound straight back up to the next repetition.
Activ8 is a performance training center that works with young athletes in training to increase athleticism and maximize athletic recovery. Plyometric exercises play an integral part in athletic development, and can dramatically improve performance. Contact us to find out more about the coaching services and programs we offer. The services we provide can help to enhance your training.