runners, Jen doesn’t like plyometics. Why? Because Jen can’t jump.
that back! Now she can. If you missed it, read here.
What is Plyometrics?
Plyometrics is just a fancy term for “Jump
The American College of Sports Medicine’s
Resources for the Health Fitness Specialist (Liguori, 2014) gives a more
detailed description: “Plyometic training
refers to a specialized method of conditioning designed to enhance
neuromuscular performance. Unlike traditional strength-building exercises
such as bench press and squat, plyometric training is characterized by quick,
powerful movements that involve a rapid stretch of a muscle (eccentric muscle
action) immediately followed by a rapid shortening of the same muscle
(concentric muscle action).”
runner. Why should I try Plyometric Training?
Plyometic training has been shown to improve
running economy, balance, flexibility, coordination, strength and explosive
power. You may not realize it but running is a form of jumping. And
to improve your running, you must practice jumping.
Plyometrics isn’t just for sprinters and field
events. While distance runners mainly depend on slow-twitch aerobic
muscle fibers, plyometric training helps to recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers
more efficiently. If you are running 25-30 miles a week, you may be
improving endurance and overall fitness but you are not changing your muscle power.
You can train your legs to turn over faster and push off harder by plyometric
should I incorporate Plyometic Training into my routine?
All you need is 10 minutes 2-3 days per week to
make a difference.
Plyometic Workout for Runners:
Begin with a dynamic warm up. Example: Wake
Up Call, Walk + Squat, Leg Swings, High Knees/High Heels, Jumping Jacks.
Stand in front of a box or platform.
Alternate tapping the top of the platform with your toes. Mimic a running
motion with your arms as you are tapping your toes. This is a quick
exercise so keep moving and get that heart rate up!
Single Leg Hops
Stand on one leg. Jump up and down.
Then switch to jumping side to side and forward and back. Repeat on the
Begin by squatting. Jump as high as you can
in the air and land softly back in a squat position. Repeat.
Begin in a lunge position. (Look for those
nice 90-degree angles!) Jump upward from lunge position and switch legs
while you’re in the air. Land softly in a lunge position with the
opposite foot in front. Repeat.
Look for a sturdy box or platform that is 12-24
inches high. Start in a standing position. Slightly squat downward
and jump onto the box. Take off with both feet and land on both
feet. You may use your arms for momentum. Either step down off the
box or jump down backward. Repeat. No resting in between
jumps! Increase height of the box as you progress.
Always warm up before beginning any plyometric
training. If you’re new to these exercises, start slow. Low
repetitions (1 set of 6-8 repetitions) and build (gradually increase number of
sets and repetitions). These exercises are meant to be done fast with
minimal time spent on the ground. Always make sure you are wearing proper
footwear and jumping on a shock absorbing surface such as a suspended floor or
grassy field. If you’re too ambitious or exercises are done incorrectly,
this can lead to injury. Listen to your body. If it’s telling you
something, back off and see your doctor or physical therapist.