Athletes who are more explosive are able to excel at football, because they can sprint faster and jump higher, giving them an advantage when trying to go up and get to a thrown ball, burst up the field and chase down defenders. Plyometrics are exercises that challenge your muscles explosively. With consistent plyometric training, football players can significantly increase their speed and power.
Plyometric Training Principles
Because of the intensity of plyometrics, your neuromuscular system needs at least three days off in between training sessions. Therefore, spread two workouts throughout a week period, with three days off in between each one. Before each session, perform five to 10 minutes of light cardio, followed by dynamic stretches that target the lower body. For workouts to be effective, when doing plyometrics perform each repetition as explosively as possible.
Hurdle Hops and Zig-Zag Jumps
Begin your workout with two-foot-hop exercises such as hurdle hops and zig-zag jumps, which improve how quickly you’re able to take off from the ground. To perform hurdle hops, set out short hurdles or small cones in a single-file line, with each one a few feet apart. Stand facing the first hurdle or cone and hop over each cone, trying to reduce the time your feet are in contact with the ground. Zig-zag jumps are similar, except that instead of jumping forward over the cones, you jump diagonally over them. Stand behind and slightly to the side of the first cone. Jump over each cone in a diagonal, zig-zag manner as quickly as possible. Complete two sets of eight reps of each exercise, resting 30 to 60 seconds between each set.
Box and Depth Jumps
Move onto box jumps and depth jumps, which build power in your jumping and sprinting muscles. You’ll need a plyo box for both exercises. To perform box jumps, stand on the floor in front of the plyo box with your feet set to shoulder-width apart. Lower into a quarter squat and then take off into a maximum-height jump, landing on top of the box with both feet. Step down off the box between each rep. Depth jumps involve starting on top of the box. Step off the box and land on the floor with both feet. As soon as your feet hit, take off into a maximum height vertical jump. Step up onto the box between each set. Perform two sets of five reps of each exercise.
Front and Lateral Bounds
Finish your plyometric session with front and lateral bounds, which will improve your sprinting speed and lateral movement abilities. To perform front bounds, with your feet at shoulder-width apart, lower into a quarter squat and then take off into a jump, traveling as far forward as you can. Land with both feet hitting the ground at the same time. As soon as you land, lower into a quarter squat to go into the next rep. For lateral bounds, jump as far to the side as possible. Complete all reps going to the right and then all reps going to the left. Perform two sets of eight reps of each exercise.