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Jump height and athletic power are a major component of being a great athlete. An impressive vertical is hard to come by, but with proper training every athlete can improve greatly. By using the plyometric box jump, athletes will find their verticals quickly improving. This drill, combined with several other plyometric exercises, can enhance a player’s ability to explode in just weeks of training.
It is always important that athletes warm up properly before completing any plyometric exercise. This should include a dynamic warm-up targeting the hamstrings, glutes, quads, hips, groin, core, and upper body. Plyometric training requires full body explosiveness. A dynamic warm-up will enhance an athlete’s ability to be more explosive and stay safe. Without warming up, athletes can be at risk of pulling a muscle. Plyometric training is very high-impact and stressful to the body. Each athlete must take the warm-up seriously. If any muscles are tighter than normal, it is a good idea to complete some isometric holds as well. This can be a simple toe touch and hold, or a static quad stretch.
As soon as athletes are good and warm, it's time to find the proper box height. The box should be challenging, but attainable. Box jumps can be very dangerous and if athletes use too high of a box, often times as they fatigue and will find themselves coming up short. Coming up short will lead to shin injuries not to mention a high risk of falling backwards headfirst.
Now that the correct box has been chosen, it is time to begin training. Athletes should begin on top of the box. The key to the box jump is stepping off the box so that the feet hit the ground at the exact same time. As body weight loads onto the feet, athletes must explode immediately back up onto the box. The amount of time the athlete spends on the floor must be minimal. The longer the hesitation in between landing and jumping, the less benefit the plyometric box jump will have. Long hesitations will leave athletes with little to no results.
Athletes should not rush during the box jump drill. Maintain balance and body control throughout the entire set. After the athlete jumps onto the box the athlete must move into the next rep position. This position must be towards the edge of the box so that a small step back will put them in position to explode back on top of the box.
Athletes will often forget their arms. They sometimes become worried about their footwork and neglect the fundamentsl o what creates a powerful jump when completing box jumps or other plyometric drills. It is important to be conscious during every rep to use a full arm swing and be explosive. The arms will help load the legs and core and then help accelerate the body upward for a maximal vertical. Make sure to have comfortable bent arms with no wasted movements from side to side. The arms should swing by the side and then quickly upward.
Plyometric exercises should not be used as endurance training. It is essential that plyometric drills be done with the proper amount of rest and explosive rep durations. Complete the box jump with 8 to 10 reps and 3 to 4 sets. These rep ranges should correlate with each athlete’s fitness level. More advanced athletes can do more reps and sets, while less advanced should be more conscious of form and technique.
Kbands are a great addition to jump training. The glutes and hips are some of the biggest components of jump height. When wearing the leg bands you will be firing these muscles continuously. The hips and glutes are in charge of knee internal rotation. By applying resistance with Kbands athletes will find safety and stability in their joints. Kbands offer major body control improvements by developing these muscles. Weak legs will often shift inward during a high impact landing. With Kbands athlete’s bodies will naturally work against the resistance and land properly.
For a complete athlete training program look to our Athlete Performance Pack. This 5-week program will give you the results you are looking for. Use these plyometric drills to get your ready for the next step. With the Athlete Performance Pack you will see improvement in your vertical, speed, agility, body control, and core strength. Simply put the DVDs in and work with Trevor Theismann one on one in your living room.
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