Exercise of the Week: Lower-Body Strength and Power Circuit

December 5, 2012

The STACK Exercise of the Week will help you improve your overall sports performance—including strength, speed, conditioning and flexibility. This week we highlight a lower-body circuit that develops strength and power.

Who’s Doing It

  • Tobin Heath, U.S. soccer star

Muscular Benefits

  • Increases glute, quad, hamstring and calf strength and power
  • Improves balance and single-leg stability
  • Builds endurance

Sports Performance Benefits

The four exercises in this circuit primarily develop lower-body strength and power to improve acceleration, agility and top speed. The single-leg aspect of the Step-Up and Lunge build stability and balance to help you stay strong on your feet and prevent opponents from knocking you out of position. Also, performing these exercises in a circuit is a great way to keep your heart rate up and improve late-game endurance.

Lower-Body Circuit How To

Circuit the following exercises using a knee-high box

Box Squat

  • Assume athletic stance six to 12 inches in front of box
  • Bend hips and knees to slowly lower into Squat
  • Tap butt on box
  • Explosively drive out of Squat
  • Repeat for specified reps

Step-Ups

  • Assume athletic stance six inches behind box with right foot fully on box
  • Contract right quad and glute to explosively drive body up
  • Drive left knee up until thigh is parallel to ground
  • Bend right knee and hip to lower left leg to ground and return to starting position
  • Repeat for specified reps; perform set on opposite leg

Lunges

  • Assume athletic stance
  • Step forward with right leg and lower until thigh is parallel to ground and rear leg is one or two inches above ground
  • Drive up with front leg to return to start position
  • Repeat for specified reps; perform rep with opposite leg

Box Jump

  • Assume athletic stance about one arm-length away from plyo box
  • Lower into quarter-squat, then explode through hips, knees and ankles to jump for maximum height
  • Land softly with bent knees on top of box
  • Step down slowly
  • Repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 4x6-8 each exercise

Coaching Points

Box Squat

  • Sit back
  • Lower slowly
  • Drive up explosively

Step-Ups

  • Drive knee and opposite arm up
  • Lower slowly

Lunges

  • Keep chest up and knee behind ankle
  • Go as deep as possible

Box Jump

  • Begin in power stance
  • Use arms to explode up
  • Land softly
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...

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