Explosive power is all about how fast an athlete can generate power from a stand still.  Short sprinters, offensive lineman in football and shot putters are examples of explosive athletes.  An athlete’s explosive power can be improved using plyometric drills

Plyometric Drills Overview – The term plyometrics comes from the  European research conducted by Soviet sport scientists in the late 60’s  and its effectiveness  centers around overloading the bodies extremely fast eccentric-concentric muscle contractions. This form of training involves rapidly stretching a muscle (an eccentric contraction) followed by a fast, powerful concentric contraction.

Whenever you lengthen a muscle, this is called an “eccentric” contraction.  For example squatting down to sit on a chair, essentially contracts the tops of the legs, or the quadriceps muscles. When a muscle shortens, you are concentrically contracting it.  When you push with your legs to get out of the chair that is a concentric contraction of the quadriceps.

This is important to understand because whenever a muscle undergoes a very fast eccentric contraction; its built-in defense system will go into gear and cause a very powerful concentric reaction to counter the stretch. It’s the body’s way of protecting itself from damage. Your body senses this very fast stretch and sends a signal to your muscles telling them to concentrically contract to avoid injury this action is called the “stretch reflex”.

Plyometrics force this “stretch reflex” to occur by using a large amount of force against the muscle in a very short period of time. A great way to do this is to use gravity. Whenever an athlete starts in the air and comes back to the ground, gravity provides additional force on the muscles. If the joints are locked, then the shock will be absorbed by the bones, which is definitely not good for the athlete. But if the joints are not locked, the muscles, tendons and ligaments absorbed the extra force generated by gravity. In particular, the muscles will rapidly contract eccentrically, meaning they will get longer.

If the athlete can eccentrically contract the muscles rapidly enough to cause the stretch reflex, and at the same time simulate movements used in sport, then the athlete will be taking advantage of the body’s natural defense mechanism to aid in speed and explosion training.  This is accomplished by jumping off the ground, jumping over objects, rapid jumps, bounding, and jumping off objects of varying heights.

Due to the amount of force generated by the muscles from plyometric training, it is important to follow some basic rules before training.

1.          Established a good strength, speed, and quickness base before advancing to plyometric training. This takes several weeks of regular speed and quickness drills along with a good weight training program.

2.          Began with level one plyometrics and slowly advance and to levels two and three, which will gradually increase the stress load on the muscles.

3.          Some experts believe that the athletes should not perform Level 3 plyometrics and so they can parallel squat 11/2 – 21/2 times their body weight.

4.          An athlete should never do a plyometric drill when they’re tired. Each exercise and each rep should be done with maximum power and effort. The drill should not be done when the athlete is still recovering from a previous drill.

5.          There should be at least 48 HRS before training the same body part with plyometric exercises.

6.          The athlete should warm up and stretch before conducting plyometric exercises.

7.          An athlete should not do plyometrics if they have had previous injuries such as muscle strains, ligament damage or spinal compression injuries

8.          Some experts believe that pre-pubescent athletes should not do plyometrics due to the incomplete formation of the growth plates. It’s recommended that an athlete consult their Physician to determine the appropriateness of plyometrics for their age.

9.          It’s important that the training surface be free of holes or other obstructions, and the drills should not be performed on hard surfaces like concrete or too soft like say for instance a trampoline.  Firm ground, gym floors, or rubber mats, are better types of surfaces to perform a plyometric drills.

10.       Athletes over 220lbs. or obese athletes (30% or higher body fat) should avoid depth jumps of over 18in. due to the force exerted on the body.

Difficulty Levels – plyometrics drills should increase in difficulty over a period of several weeks, and as previously stated should not be started until a good strength, speed, and agility base have already been established.

Flight101 HIGH PERFORMANCE TRAINING plyometric training routines are divided into three levels of difficulty. Starting from level one and slowly working the athletes to level three. The drills within each level are also listed in order of difficulty.  For a complete 24 Day Plyometric Routine see the chart that follows.

  • Level One

1.         Knee Tuck
2.         Standing Long Jump
3.         Hip Twists Ankle Hop

  • Level Two

1.         Bound for Height
2.         Bound for Distance
3.         Multiple Long Jumps
4.         Split Jumps
5.         Standing Long Jump with Sprint
6.         Running Long Jump
7.         2 Foot  Lateral Hurdle
8.         1Foot Lateral Hurdle
9.         2 Feet Front-Back Hurdle
10.     1 Foot Back-Front Hurdle

  • Level Three

1.         Toe taps
2.         Depth Jumps
3.         Depth Jump Sprint
4.         Depth Jump React
5.         Rapid Box Jumps
6.         Hurdle Jumps – Increasing Height
7.         On Box Jumps – Increasing Height
8.         Over Box Jumps – Increasing Height
9.         Lateral Hurdle Jumps – Increasing Height
10.     Lateral On Box Jumps – Increasing Height
11.     Lateral Over Box Jumps – Increasing Height

Plyometric Drills Grouped by Function – grouping the drills by function helps more clearly defined the athletic goal behind the drill. Some drills have more than one function category because they help the athletes improvement in more than one way.

Each of the explosion functions can be described as either:

1.    Lateral – the ability to quickly move to either side or quickly change direction.

2.    Vertical – jumping ability

3.    Forward – generate quick and powerful drive moving straight ahead.

4.   Quick Recovery – the ability to execute powerful movements one right after the other with minimal time in between

  • Lateral Explosion –

1.  Hip Twist Ankle Hop
2.  2 Feet Lateral Hop
3.  1 Foot Lateral Hop
4.   Lateral On Box Jumps
5.  Lateral Hurdle Jumps
6.  Depth Jump React
7.  Lateral Over-Box Jumps

  • Vertical Explosion

1. Knee Tuck
2. Bound for Height
3. Split Jumps
4. Hurdle Jumps
5. Depth Jump
6. Depth Jump Sprint
7. Depth Jump React
8. Rapid Box Jumps

  • Forward Explosion –

1.  Standing Long Jump
2.  Bound for Distance
3.  Running Long Jump
4.  Multiple Jumps
5.  On Box Jumps
6.  Depth Jump Sprint
7.  Over Box Jumps

  • Quick Recovery Explosion –

1.   Hip Twist Ankle Hop
2.  Toe taps
3.  2 Feet Lateral Hurdle
4.  1 Foot Lateral Hurdle
5.   2 feet Back-Front Hurdle
6.  1 Foot Back-Front Hurdle
7.  Multiple Long Jump
8.  Rapid Box Jump
9.  On Box Jump
10.  Over Box Jump

HIGH PERFORMANCE TRAINING (HPT) Routines OverviewOur HPT Training is set up to be performed three days a week over a nine week period with the opportunity for the athlete to do some training independently on their off days. The training sessions began with mastering sprinting basics or form work. For more information  on our  Speed and Agility Routine – 12 Day Cycle email me at jmurdock@flight101ssd.com

HPT Training can be performed every day of week provided that the athlete follows a few basic rules.

  1. Do not  perform the drills tired
  2. Always perform a full flexibility routine when training for speed and quickness.
  3. Work on speed, agility, and plyometric drills before lifting weights
  4. Do not perform Level 2 or Level 3 plyometrics drills on consecutive days.  Like weight training, the body needs to recover from these intense drills.
  5. Trained for quality, not quantity it is better to do three drills perfectly than ten with poor form.
  6. Train with weights and performs speed and agility drills for the least four weeks before starting plyometrics.
  7. When performing a plyometric routine make sure the athlete understands and meets all the safety requirements before starting training.
  8. Perform plyometric and speed drills on different days.
  9. Allow for at least 48 hours recovery between plyometrics training days. If time a does not allow for full recovery, and speed and agility drills have to be performed on the same day as plyometrics then do the plyometric drills first.
  10. Do every single drill and jump with maximum effort treat every repetition like its own exercise.

If you have any questions or would like some instruction oh how to properly perform these drill feel free to contact me at jmurdock@flight101ssd.com.

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  1. plyometrics is really an effective and explosive workout for improving power, strength, agility and balance. Most athletes specially in the field of basketball and volleyball undergo plyometrics. I remember doing this workout. It was quite difficult to execute but when your muscles or body already adopted the workout you’ll gonna enjoy it and you’ll see the best result.

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