Plyometrics At The University Of Oregon

University of Oregon director of strength and conditioning Jim Radcliffe is deeply committed to plyometric training. This type of training gets results for the Ducks’ football program, helping to make it one of the fastest, most agile football programs in the country.

Below, coaches can learn some basic plyometric exercises as well as some advanced exercises. Coaches are encouraged to incorporate these exercises into their strength and conditioning regimens for maximum results.


Beginner-Level Exercises

The following drills and exercises will help coaches that currently do not incorporate plyometrics into training. Though many of these exercises are quite easy to perform, they will help athletes move more efficiently – and faster – in the field of play. Remember to focus on form while using plyometrics training.

Prancing

Prancing is the beginning progression for bounding. In this exercise, it is important to take off and land on both feet simultaneously and to project the hips horizontally.

Starting Position – Assume a standing position with knees slightly bent and the hips tilted forward.

Action Sequence – Upon takeoff, push the hips outward and upward with the knee of one leg recovering forward (See Figures A and B). Upon landing, repeat the takeoff with the opposite knee recovering forward (See Figure C). The upper body action is the same as in running. For both feet to land simultaneously, the ankles must remain locked in a toes-up position.

Galloping

Galloping is a rhythmic exercise that fosters good hip projection and back leg push-off. Lead leg mechanics and proper piston and hip extension mechanics are a secondary emphasis.

Starting Position – Assume a standing position with one leg in front of the other.

Action Sequence – Begin by pushing off with the back leg and foot, keeping the ankle locked to emphasize a spring-loaded landing and takeoff (See Figure D). Continue to keep the same leg behind the hips and project the hips forward while maintaining the opposite leg in a forward position for initial landing and balance within each stride (See Figures E-H).

After executing 6-12 repetitions, switch the position of the legs and repeat the sequence. Emphasize hip projection upward and forward with forceful, quick extensions of the back knee and ankle, accompanied by piston-like striding actions of the lead leg.

Advanced Level Exercises

For coaches who already utilize plyometrics in their strength and conditioning programs, adding more advanced-level exercises to athletic training will optimize agility, speed and quickness. It is highly important that athletes utilize correct form while training with advanced-level plyometric exercises.

Single-Leg Pogo

This exercise enhances landing and takeoff mechanics from the ankle through the hip. It trains or rehabilitates sprinting posture and ground negotiation. This exercises is crucial for training and directing sprint reaction forces downward into the ground from an erect position directly above the contact point.

Starting Position – Stand tall with one leg flexed at the hip, the ankle lifted and locked, and the toes up. The knee should be held above the level of the hip with the heel in front of the support knee.

Action Sequence – Flex and then extend the support leg upward and forward (See Figures I and J). Land each time on the full foot, with the shin and body weight over the instep (See Figure K). Each landing and takeoff should be felt high in the upper leg and hip, not around the knee (which indicates landing too much on the toes).

Angle Hop

This exercise is best performed on a multiple-angle box or similar apparatus, which must be securely attached to the ground so it does not move or slip during the hops. Angle hops improve balance and lateral movement.

Starting Position – Stand in a relaxed position on one angle-surface of the box.

Action Sequence – Hop laterally from one side of the box to the next sequentially, emphasizing a rapid side-to-side and forward motion (See Figures L-N). At the apex of the hop, the knees are brought up toward the body (See Figure M). Once skill has improved, progress to more distinct angles. Block with the arms for balance.

These exercises and explanations were excerpted from High-Powered Plyometrics, by Jim Radcliffe and Robert Farentinos. The book is published by Human Kinetics and can be purchased at www.humankinetics.com. It contains dozens of plyometric drills, from beginner-level exercises to advanced-level exercises.

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