The world’s best athletes, like NFL star Chris Johnson, are renowned for their ability to stop on a dime and accelerate to full speed—an ability critical for almost every sport. Changing direction is a primary skill needed to juke a defender or react to a play, and it requires explosive strength. Your muscles must control the body during a sudden deceleration, then quickly produce a large amount of force to accelerate.
This cycle of fast deceleration and acceleration defines the goals of plyometric training.
Shawn Horcoff, Edmonton Oilers center, performs Lateral Box Jumps to improve his change of direction ability when skating; however, the drill is appropriate for any athlete. When landing from the box, your leg muscles must decelerate and control your body, which helps improve balance and stability. They must then immediately produce explosive strength to power your body up onto the box, improving acceleration and quickness.
Watch the video above to see how to perform Lateral Box Jumps.
- Assume athletic position with feet together on top of box
- Jump off to left of box, landing with both feet
- Immediately explode upward to box, returning to starting position
- Immediately repeat to right side; repeat in alternating fashion
- Perform for specified time
Sets/Reps: 3×30 seconds