By Chad Zimmerman
Improved agility results from greater power and explosiveness, according to Toronto Blue Jays strength and conditioning coach Donovan Santas. To work all three, Santas takes plyo drills off the field and into the weight room. "Research shows that plyometric training combined with strength training leads to really significant gains," he says. "It works because your muscles are already warm and excited. You take the strength you're trying to develop and immediately convert it into power."
In the off-season, the Blue Jays superset conventional lifts with plyo drills to get quick results and shorten time in the gym. "Our guys love to superset, because they don't want to be in the gym for an hour and a half. They're not there to body build; they're there to improve as athletes," Santas says. "By supersetting, they're constantly being productive, elevating their heart rates and burning calories."
One typical superset includes a set of squats followed immediately by a set of lateral bench hops. On days when the Jays perform 4 sets of squats, they perform lateral bench hops between 2 or 3 of those sets.
Begin in athletic stance with toes pointing slightly out and bar resting on traps
Pick eye-level focus point on wall
Squat with control and good posture until thighs are parallel to ground
Keep weight back on heels
Drive out of squat into starting position, keeping chest out
Lateral Bench Hops
Begin with left foot on bench, right foot on ground next to bench
Spring off ground, up and left
Land with right foot on bench and left foot on ground next to bench
Repeat in opposite direction
Perform 20 repetitions
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