Perform Real World Plyos to Be Better at Your Sport

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Bosingwa Jumping Over Downed Player

If you want to get faster and more explosive, you have to perform plyometrics. Because they are performed at max power and effort, similar to how you perform your sports skills, they offer one of the best ways to become a better athlete.

Plyos work by challenging your fast-twitch muscle fibers to become even faster. The more force they can produce in a short amount of time, the faster you will run and the higher you will jump.

Many common plyo drills—like Squat Jumps and Broad Jumps—will make you more explosive but do not translate well to the field. When do you ever simply jump straight up or leap straight forward during a game? Instead, you might weave through defenders, jump up to the hoop, run a route or jump forward to catch a pass.

Standard Squat Jumps and Broad Jumps are not bad drills, but you also need to perform "real world" plyos, which add a sport-specific component. These will help you translate your power gains to the court or field, so you can be better at your sport.

Med Ball Toss and Sprint

  • Assume athletic stance holding med ball with arms extended at chest level
  • Lower into quarter squat and swing med ball between legs
  • Drive up through hips, knees and ankles; hurl med ball forward
  • Sprint for 10 yards; retrieve med ball and perform in opposite direction
  • Repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 1x3-5

Sprint to Vertical Jump

  • Assume athletic stance
  • Sprint for 10 yards
  • Push back hips and chop feet to stop
  • Assume athletic stance
  • Jump as high as possible
  • Perform in opposite direction; repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 1x3-5

Broad Jump to Sprint

  • Assume athletic stance
  • Lower into quarter squat and swing arms backward
  • Explode with legs and swing arms to propel body forward as far as possible
  • Land on balls of feet with bent knees to absorb impact
  • Immediately sprint for 10 yards
  • Perform in opposite direction; repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 1x3-5


John M. Cissik is the president of Human Performance Services, LLC, which helps athletics professionals solve their strength and conditioning problems. He has worked with all levels, produced four videos, written 10 books and more than 70 articles on strength and speed training. For more information, follow him on Twitter (@yourhpservices).

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