Plyometrics are a great way to build speed, power, and strength. Unlike traditional strength exercises which involve slow movements, plyometrics are fast movements that activate the Stretch-Shortening Cycle. There are 100’s of plyometric exercises but below are the top three lower body plyometrics for beginners to build strength, speed, and power.
1. Squat Jump
The squat jump is a full-body exercise that primarily works the legs and core. It is a counter-movement jump that develops speed and explosive power.
How to perform the squat jump:
Start by standing tall with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Put your hands up above your head.Then swing your arms down while coming down into a squatting position. Then swing your arms back up and explode up as fast as possible into the air for maximum height. Make sure to get full extension of your legs. When you come back down, be ready to absorb landing back in the squat position, and pause for a moment. Stand up and repeat.
2. Long Jump
Long jumps are another great exercise that works the legs and core. Besides strength and power, long jumps help develop balance, agility, and coordination.
How to perform Long jump:
Start by standing tall with your feet shoulder width-apart. Put your hands above your head. Then swing your arms down and bend your knees as if you were performing a squat jump. When you swing your arms forward explode off the ground as far as you can horizontally while being able to land in a safe position.
3. Ankle Hops
Ankle hops develop explosive power in the ankle flexors and extensors. This drill is also good for ankle mobility and for building strength in the calves. Ankle hops teach good dorsiflexion and platerflexion action by the participant and will aide in sprinting and jumping performance.
How to perform ankle hops:
Start in a standing position with your legs completely straight. Jump as high as possible just using your feet and ankles to push off, when landing absorb the ground contact while keeping your legs straight, just before lock position. Repeat for desired repetitions.
When you are brand new to a plyometric routine the best thing you can do is make sure you practice and stick safe landing positions before advancing to more ballistic plyometric routines.