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Leg Plyometrics

This following are a selection of plyometric exercises designed to develop the elastic strength of the lower body.

Bounds (high intensity)

Bounding Bounding Bounding Bounding

How to perform the exercise

  • Jog into the start of the exercise
  • Push off with your left foot and bring the right leg forward, with the knee bent, toes dorsiflexed and the thigh parallel to the ground
  • As you push off reach forward with your left arm.
  • The left leg extends back and remains extended for the duration of the push-off
  • Hold this extended stride for a brief time, then land on your right foot
  • The left leg then drives through to a forward bent position, the right arm reaches forward, and the right leg extends backward
  • Make each stride long as long as possible
  • Land on the sole of the foot (flat footed), allowing energy to be stored by the elastic components of the leg muscles, and immediately take off again
  • Try to anticipate the landing and spring up as quickly as you can
  • Keep the feet touch down time on the ground to the shortest time possible

How much

  • One to three sets over 30 to 40 metres
  • Allow a full recovery between each set
  • Quality of bounding is far more important than quantity.

Hurdle Hopping (medium intensity)

Hurdle hopping Hurdle hopping Hurdle hopping
     
Hurdle hopping Hurdle hopping Hurdle hopping
     
Hurdle hopping Hurdle hopping Hurdle hopping

How to perform the exercise

  • Jump forward over the barriers with your feet together
  • The movement should come from your hips and knees
  • keep your body vertical and straight, and do not let your knees move apart or to either side
  • Tuck both knees to your chest
  • Use a double arm swing to maintain balance and gain height
  • You should land on the balls of the feet, allowing energy to be stored by the elastic components of the leg muscles, and immediately take off again
  • Try to anticipate the landing and spring up as quickly as you can
  • Keep the feet touch down time on the ground to the shortest time possible

How much

  • One to three sets using 6 to 8 hurdles
  • Allow a full recovery between each set
  • Hurdles should set up in a row, spaced according to ability
  • The height of the hurdles should be in the region of 12 and 36 inches high
  • Quality of hurdle hopping is far more important than quantity

Single Leg Hopping (medium intensity)

Single leg hop (1) Single leg hop (2) Single leg hop (3) Single leg hop (4)
       
Single leg hop (5) Single leg hop (6) Single leg hop (7) Single leg hop (8)

How to perform the exercise

  • Stand on one leg
  • Push off with the leg you are standing on and jump forward, landing on the same leg
  • Use a forceful swing of the opposite leg to increase the length of the jump but aim primarily for height off each jump
  • You should land on the ball of the foot, allowing energy to be stored by the elastic components of the leg muscles, and immediately take off again
  • Keep the foot touch down time to the shortest time possible
  • Try to keep your body vertical and straight
  • Perform this exercise on both legs
  • Beginners will use a straighter leg action where as advanced athletes should try to pull the heel toward the buttocks during the jump
  • Try to anticipate the landing and spring up as quickly as you can
  • Keep the feet touch down time on the ground to the shortest time possible

How much

  • One to three sets over 30 to 40 metres
  • Allow a full recovery between each set
  • Quality of bounding is far more important than quantity

Box Jumps (high intensity)

Box Jump (1) Box Jump (2) Box Jump (3) Box Jump (4)
       
Box Jump (5) Box Jump (6) Box Jump (7) Box Jump (8)

How to perform the exercise

  • This exercise requires 6 x 40-100cm boxes
  • Assume a deep squat position with your feet shoulder width apart at the end of the row of boxes
  • Keep your hands on your hips or behind your head
  • Jump onto the box, landing softly in a squat position on the balls of the feet
  • Maintaining the squat position, jump off the box onto the ground, landing softly in a squat position on the balls of the feet
  • Jump onto the next box and so on
  • Try to anticipate the landing and spring up as quickly as you can
  • Keep the feet touch down time on the ground to the shortest time possible

How much

  • One to three sets using 6 to 8 boxes
  • Allow a full recovery between each set
  • The height of the box should be in the region of 30-80 cm
  • Quality of box jumping is far more important than quantity

Depth Jumps (high intensity)

Depth Jump (1) Depth Jump (2) Depth Jump (3)
     
Depth Jump (4) Depth Jump (5) Depth Jump (6)

How to perform the exercise

  • This exercise requires a 40-100cm box
  • Stand on the box with your toes close to the front edge
  • Step from the box and drop to land on then balls of both feet
  • Try to anticipate the landing and spring up as quickly as you can
  • Keep the feet touch down time on the ground to the shortest time possible

How much

  • One to three sets using 6 to 8 boxes
  • Allow a full recovery between each set
  • The height of the box should be in the region of 30-80 cm
  • Quality of depth jumping is far more important than quantity

Tuck Jumps (low intensity)

Tuck Jump (1) Tuck Jump (2) Tuck Jump (3)
     
Tuck Jump (4) Tuck Jump (5) Tuck Jump (6)

How to perform the exercise

  • Begin in a standing position
  • Jump up, grabbing both knees as they come up your chest
  • Return to the starting position landing on the balls of the feet
  • Try to anticipate the landing and spring up as quickly as you can
  • Keep the feet touch down time on the ground to the shortest time possible

How much

  • 1 to 3 sets
  • Allow a full recovery between each set
  • 5 to 10 repetitions/set
  • Quality of Tuck Jumps is far more important than quantity

Two legged Hops or Bunny Hops (medium intensity)

Bunny Hops (1) Bunny Hops (2) Bunny Hops (3)
     
Bunny Hops (4) Bunny Hops (5) Bunny Hops (6)

How to perform the exercise

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Lower into a squat position and jump as far forward as possible
  • Land on the balls of both feet
  • Try to keep your body vertical and straight, and do not let your knees move apart or to either side
  • Try to anticipate the landing and spring up as quickly as you can
  • Keep the feet touch down time on the ground to the shortest time possible
  • Use quick double-arm swings and keep landings short

How much

  • 1 to 3 sets
  • Allow a full recovery between each set
  • 5 to 10 repetitions/set
  • Quality of Bunny Hops is far more important than quantity

Warm up

A thorough warm-up is essential prior to plyometric training. Attention should be given to jogging, stretching (static and ballistic), striding and general mobility especially about the joints involved in the planned plyometric session. A warm-down should follow each session.

Where to do it and what to wear

For bounding exercises use surfaces such as grass or resilient surfaces and well-cushioned shoes that are stable and can absorb some of the impact.

Young athletes

Moderate jumps can be included in the athletic training of very young children (Lohman, 1989). Because of the relatively immature bone structure in preadolescent and adolescent children the very great forces exerted during intensive depth jumps should be avoided (Smith, 1975).

Exercise intensity

Movement Type
Example
Intensity
Standing jumps on the spot Squat Jumps Low
Standing jumps Standing long jump Low-Medium
Standing multiple jumps 5 bounds Medium
Running multiple jumps 2 x 10 bounds off 7 stride run up High
Depth Jumping 2 x 6 jumps down/up off 40-100cm boxes High
Eccentric drop and hold 5 x Hop and hold High
Uphill Bounding uphill Very High

Page Reference

The reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2000) Leg Plyometrics [WWW] Available from: http://www.brianmac.co.uk/legplymo.htm [Accessed

Associated Pages

The following Sports Coach pages should be read in conjunction with this page: