Almost every skill executed in sports—whether running, jumping or throwing a ball—begins with power that originates from the ground and travels up through the body. To appreciate the importance of ground-based power, try throwing a ball with your legs locked and watch how far it goes.
Emphasizing this movement pattern in your training can be the difference between becoming a great athlete and becoming a great weightlifter. At the University of Maryland, soccer strength coach Barry Kagan ensures his athletes work to develop their strength from the ground up with the Plate Extension exercise.
Looking closely at this exercise, it’s apparent that most of the force used to propel the weight overhead originates from the hips—the body’s most powerful joint. The force then travels up through the core to complete the movement with the arms overhead. Force traveling up through the body in this fashion is common to many athletic skills—including jumping for rebounds, throwing hard and tackling runners.
In addition to its power focus, the exercise recruits shoulder muscles to control the plate and core muscles to stabilize the body when the plate is overhead, making it a total body strength builder.
View the video above to see Maryland soccer players perform the Plate Extension.
- Assume squat position holding plate between legs with arms fully extended
- Simultaneously drive up out of squat and raise plate directly over head, keeping arms fully extended
- Lower plate in a controlled manner and return to starting position
- Repeat for specified reps