Jumping to New Performance Levels: Plyometric Training for Youth

July 15, 2011

Must See Speed Videos

Plyometrics is not just for skilled athletes at the elite level. Studies show that plyometric training has positive effects on a number of performance attributes in 10- to 13-year-old children. It helps develop overall power and high levels of speed-strength by improving running speed and economy; quickness and agility; lower-body power; and the rate of force development—how fast an athlete uses the strength he or she generates.

A proper plyo program involves exercises such as jumping, skipping, hopping, bounding and running. If young athletes follow some basic principles, incorporating plyos into their training programs can reap huge rewards and take their performance to new levels.

Researchers are finding that when implemented at certain stages of development—particularly ages 10 to 11 and 12 to 13—plyo training can propel future development. Youth in these age ranges can perform slow to intermediate work that trains their muscles' stretch-shortening cycle. A muscle is like a rubber band: the more you stretch it, the more power/force it has. If you stretch a large rubber band, it can generate immense power and force. All athletes need to improve their muscles' ability to stretch farther—to create larger rubber bands!

The effectiveness of any training program rests on the suitability of its design, including volume, intensity, frequency, speed of movement and recovery. Although plyo training can start at an early age, a 12-year-old should not do the same drills as an 18-year-old. For example, a 12-year-old could do 10 yards of Speed Hops with both feet, while an 18-year-old might do 25-Yard Single-Leg Jumps. Or the 12-year-old could do a Standing Long Jump, while the 18-year-old might use a box and do repeated jumps for distance.

By following a safe, sound plyometric program, youth ages 10 to 13 can start to develop the performance attributes that will help them excel in later years of their athletic careers.

Below is a sample program for beginners:

Pogo

  • To start, bend the knees slightly—power and movement will come through the ankle joints
  • Drive off the ground as explosively as possible
  • On landing, keep legs straight but not locked and spring back into the air using extension through the ankles to gain height
  • 2x8 jumps

Squat Jump

  • Lower into a squat position, bending the knees
  • Jump up, getting triple extension through the hips, knees and ankles
  • Go as high as possible
  • Try to spend as little time on the ground as possible
  • 2x6 jumps

Star Jump

  • Like the Squat Jump, from a squat position, jump as high as possible
  • At the highest point, bring legs out to the side and arms overhead at a 45-degree angle, forming a star
  • Bring feet back in and under the body before landing
  • Land and repeat
  • 2x6 jumps

Double Leg Speed Hop

  • With both feet together, extend the ankles and hips
  • Staying on your toes, hop on both feet for 10 yards
  • Spend a little time as possible on the ground—pretend you're hopping through hot coals
  • 2x10 yards

By performing these simple exercises—progressing from low to moderate to high intensity—you can begin a plyometric program at an early age safely and effectively.

Photo:  sportxcel.org

Mark Roozen
- Mark Roozen, M.Ed.,CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT, FNSCA, is the owner of Coach Rozy, Powered by Avera Sports. He recently was a member of the Cleveland Browns Strength...
Mark Roozen
- Mark Roozen, M.Ed.,CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT, FNSCA, is the owner of Coach Rozy, Powered by Avera Sports. He recently was a member of the Cleveland Browns Strength...
Must See
NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone
Views: 33,759,708
Michael Jordan: Mind of a Champion Michael Jordan: Mind of a Champion
Views: 548,374
Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes
Views: 6,029,485

Featured Videos

Tobin Heath Closed-Space Dribbling Tobin Heath Closed-Space Dribbling Views: 1,175,887
Real Workouts: Randall Cobb Real Workouts: Randall Cobb Views: 23,406
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 70,968
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,499,214
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 11,426,460
Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,362,798
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,577,596
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,333,222

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
How the Cable Machine Can Help You Get Faster

How the Cable Machine Can Help You Get Faster

Speed training requires more than just running fast. The right work in the gym can be the difference maker. There are a few weak links that are often...

Sprinting Tips from Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Johnson

Sprinting Tips from Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Johnson

NFL RB Zac Stacy Works to Get Faster for the 2015 Season

NFL RB Zac Stacy Works to Get Faster for the 2015 Season

Speed Drill of the Day: Get More Explosive with Ankle Hops

Speed Drill of the Day: Get More Explosive with Ankle Hops

Todd Durkin's 5 Exercises to Increase Your Agility

Todd Durkin's 5 Exercises to Increase Your Agility

Why Agility Is Critical for Soccer Players

Why Agility Is Critical for Soccer Players

Resisted Sprints: Use the Right Weight to Get Faster

Resisted Sprints: Use the Right Weight to Get Faster

Developing Soccer-Specific Speed

Developing Soccer-Specific Speed

King of the Hill: 5 Hill Run Exercises to Supercharge Your Speed

King of the Hill: 5 Hill Run Exercises to Supercharge Your Speed

What Is Fast in Soccer?

What Is Fast in Soccer?

Why Youth Athletes Need to Focus On Strength to Improve Speed

Why Youth Athletes Need to Focus On Strength to Improve Speed

Six-Pack for Speed: 5 Core Exercises That Can Make You Faster

Six-Pack for Speed: 5 Core Exercises That Can Make You Faster

5 Stretches That Can Instantly Make You Faster

5 Stretches That Can Instantly Make You Faster

3 Ways to Build Sprint Speed (No Sprinting Required)

3 Ways to Build Sprint Speed (No Sprinting Required)

Get Even More Out of Your Hill Sprints With These Variations

Get Even More Out of Your Hill Sprints With These Variations

5 Movements You Should Be Doing to Gain Football Speed

5 Movements You Should Be Doing to Gain Football Speed

These 5 Drills Will Increase Your Baseball-Specific Speed

These 5 Drills Will Increase Your Baseball-Specific Speed

Get Faster with High-Speed Treadmill Training

Get Faster with High-Speed Treadmill Training

3 Acceleration Drills to Get Faster

3 Acceleration Drills to Get Faster

Fine-Tuning Soccer Sprint Speed

Fine-Tuning Soccer Sprint Speed

A Linear Speed Progression for Increasing In-Game Speed

A Linear Speed Progression for Increasing In-Game Speed

Building Sprint Speed for Soccer Players

Building Sprint Speed for Soccer Players

Soccer Players: Get Quick on the Pitch

Soccer Players: Get Quick on the Pitch

Run Faster and Longer

Run Faster and Longer

Feed for Speed: 5 Foods and Supplements That Make You Faster

Feed for Speed: 5 Foods and Supplements That Make You Faster

YardBarker