A New Look at Plyometrics

The catch and pass incorporates hand eye coordination and explosive movements.

Donald Chu published his first book Jumping Into Plyometrics in 1992. At the time, his use of this explosive training method developed by Soviet athletes in the 1970s was still fairly revolutionary, but today, most volleyball players and coaches acknowledge without question that plyos are an essential part of any sports performance training program.

Exercise scientists and sports performance trainers continue to research plyometrics and learn ways to train more effectively and experience fewer injuries, which is why Chu has teamed up with Gregory Myer, the director of research at the Human Performance Laboratory in the Division of Sports Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, to write an update to his first book. The result of that partnership, Plyometrics, includes new exercises and applications for different sports as well as tips for using plyos with young athletes and for knee injury prevention in all athletes.

What follows is a sample of the kinds of exercises you’ll find in the book.

As featured in the new book, Plyometrics (Human Kinetics, 2013), written by Donald Chu and Gregory Myer.

Plyometrics is written by Donald Chu, who pioneered research-supported plyometric training in the Western hemisphere and is revered throughout the strength and conditioning community for enhancing modern sports’ most defining athletic factor: power. Plyometrics is now available in bookstores everywhere, as well as online at humankinetics.com.

CATCH AND PASS WITH JUMP-AND-REACH

LEVEL: High

EQUIPMENT

Partner, box 12 to 42 inches high, medicine ball, and high object such as a basketball goal

START

Stand on the box, with feet shoulder-width apart and with toes close to the edge (A).

ACTION

Step off the box and land on both feet (B). Explode up and forward, extend your arms, and catch a pass from your partner (C). On landing, explode up again and reach for the high object with the medicine ball (D).

________

WAVE SQUAT

LEVEL: High

EQUIPMENT

External resistance ranging from a 6-pound medicine ball to a barbell with 60 percent of the athlete’s body weight

START

Start in a quarter-squat position with weight resting on the shoulders. Feet should be shoulder-width apart (E).

ACTION
Start moving forward by performing three double-leg hops with the resistance on the shoulders, flexing the knees to approximately 130 degrees (F). On the fourth jump, descend to a 90-degree position of knee flexion and perform a maxi­mal vertical jump (G). Perform the sequence several times for maximal effort.

________

DEPTH JUMP OVER BARRIER

LEVEL: High

EQUIPMENT

A 12- to 42-inch box and a barrier 28 to 36 inches high, placed about 3 feet from the box

START

Stand on the box, with feet shoulder-width apart.

ACTION

Step off the box (I) and, after landing (J), jump over the barrier (K).

________

POWER DROP

LEVEL: High

EQUIPMENT

Partner, box 12 to 42 inches high, and medicine ball

START

Lie supine on the ground with your arms stretched up over your chest. The partner stands on the box, holding the medicine ball at arm’s length.

ACTION

The partner drops the ball (L). Catch the ball and immediately propel the ball back to the partner. Repeat.

Originally published in November 2013

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