Plyometrics are essential to your development as an athlete. However, you can’t aimlessly hop, skip and jump, or you will set yourself up for an injury.
Target your specific sports skills and match them with the plyometric exercises below. Perform no more than three plyometric exercises immediately after your dynamic warm-up. Start with two to three sets of four to six reps per exercise.
The Best Plyometric Exercise For…
Beginners: Depth Drop
Depth Drops focus solely on the landing so that you can store energy with proper technique. This sets the stage for more advanced plyometric exercises.
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A Faster 40: Double-Contact Vertical Jump
Speed—especially at the start of a sprint—is largely determined by how quickly you can store and release energy via the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC). This exercise simulates the quick foot contact of a stride, increasing your power output so that you can put max force into the ground in as little time as possible.
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A Bigger Vertical Jump: Depth Drop to Vertical Jump
A maximum-height jump can only be achieved if you engage the SSC by squatting two to three times before jumping. The Depth Drop to Vertical Jump—commonly referred to as a Depth Jump—increases your ability to store elastic energy and then rapidly release it to propel you into the air.
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Throwing Harder: Med Ball Rotational Smash
Similar to a jump, throwing a 90-mph fastball requires the muscles to quickly store and release energy. The Med Ball Rotational Smash offers a benefit similar to the previous drill, but targets the hip and core muscles used to throw a ball.
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Improving Agility: Skater Jumps
Skater Jumps develop the ability to explode laterally. Coupled them with the Double-Contact Vertical Jump, and you will improve your speed and agility in multiple directions, which is critical in all sports except track and cross country.
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