Archive for “power” Tag

Why Implement Plyometrics into Your Training Programs: Part 1

Why You Should be Implementing Plyometrics: Part 1

men-82140_640Before we get into why you should be implementing plyometrics into your training programs, let’s first define plyometrics.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines plyometrics as an exercise involving repeated, rapid stretching and contracting of muscles (by jumping and rebounding) to increase muscle power.

Pro Tip: Plyometric exercises are a great tool to use to put power behind the muscle.

Plyometrics can be used with many athletes or non-athletes at varying levels. However, as a wrestling coach, it’s a tool I use to help and even simulate explosive drive through their opponents while on the mat.

In Part 1 of this blog, you will receive 3 reasons why you should be implementing plyometrics in your training programs and Free Access to the Top 4 Plyo Exercises.

3 Reasons to Implement Plyometrics

Reason #1: Putting the Power Behind Muscles

One of the main reasons to implement plyometric exercises into a training program is to give athletes the power they need to throw faster, jump higher, or hit the ball harder and farther.

For example, plyometric exercises give wrestlers the power they need to drive through their double leg take downs, a basketball athlete the powerful vertical for a rebound, a swimmer the ability to “push” off the block and the list goes on.

Pro Tip: Application of power is a key component in successful athletes. What’s the point if your athlete is lifting a ton of weight and they can’t apply it?

Reason #2: Progressions

Plyometrics can be a great tool for progressions. Do you have an athlete or athletes who have mastered a certain exercise, or have reached a glass ceiling with a certain exercise, but you’re not sure how you can progress those athletes?

Give plyometrics a try! A good example is a basic body weight squat progressing into squat jumps. Great push-ups need a challenge? Challenge them with plyometric push-ups (one of my personal favorites).

Pro Tip: Progressions are very important in developing an athlete’s long-term capabilities. Be sure that athletes are proficient in all mechanics before moving them on to more complex moves and adding plyometrics.

Reason #3: Performance Development

Through regular and adequate use of plyometric exercises your athletes will be able to jump higher or farther (depending on their reasoning for jumping), run faster and longer (plyometrics has been shown to improve distance runner’s conditioning), throw harder, and at the end of the day develop the necessary tools to reach their goals!

There are many reasons to add plyometrics to your training, and in my next blog, I will expose 3 more. For now, it is important to remember that plyometrics are a tool, and should be used within your existing long-term athlete development programming.

About the Author: DeCoreus Leavell

DL-HeadshotDeCoreus Leavell
– IYCA High School Strength and Conditioning Specialist Certified
– Assistant Coach at Christian County High School
– In the span of 3 years coached 3 state champions and 15 state placers at the middle and high school level

Top 4 Plyo Exercises

Every successful athlete needs the ability to exert a maximal amount of force in the shortest possible time interval (i.e. power). In Coach Wil Fleming’s short 4-video series, he outlines how plyo exercises improve a variety of movement patterns that increase strength, speed, power and much more.


3 Movements For Young Athletes


Preparing Young Athletes


young athletes weight training


By Wil Fleming


Can you recall walking into a weightroom for the first time?


I still can, it was my high school weightroom and I was maybe 14 years old. Men, four years older than me were lifting much more than I could imagine, grunting, cursing, and straining their way to be better at their sport. I was told what the workout was and went to it.


I remember that first workout. Three sets of 10 on the bench press, back squat, and incline bench press, and five sets of five on the power clean. I remember that my squats were three inches too high (no one back squats well the first day), my power cleans looked like reverse curls, and my bench press was 15 pounds too heavy for my strength levels.


This happens all the time, young athletes are thrown into programs about which they know nothing, for which they are completely unprepared, and from which they are likely to get injured.


It doesn’t have to be that way though.


The squat, the clean, and the bench press are the staples of programs for high school athletes in their school. There are three exercises that they can be taught beforehand that can set them up for ultimate success.


3 Exercises that every young athlete should be taught


Goblet Squat
We’ve all seen the picture of the baby in the perfect squat position. You know which one that I am talking about. The neutral spine and neck, the hips below the knees, the feet flat on the ground. So we all know that humans can squat…at some point. So at what point did people lose the ability to squat well? I can’t tell you for sure but typically it is before they hit the weightroom for the first time.


The first key that makes the goblet squat the best tool for re-teaching athletes is the un-weighted goblet squat or prayer squat. Have the athlete take a prayer type position with hands together and elbows down squat to the bottom. At their lowest point let their elbows push their knees out . This is the first lesson that the Goblet squat can teach us. We must create space to squat to. We do not need to bend over to squat, because you will run out of room. Squatting must happen between the legs with a vertical torso.


Move on to using the dumbbell or kettlebell and try the same thing. Squeeze the top of the dumbbell or kettlebell this time and see that your lats are turned on and because of this your entire torso is straighter. This is the second lesson of goblet squatting that other squats do not teach: The torso is just as actively a part of the squat as the lower body.


KB Swing
We all know that I love the Olympic lifts but before I even get to teach athletes to Olympic lift the swing is very often my first chance to teach explosive movement. The benefit of the swing is that it is also one of the first times that I get to teach the athlete to hip hinge.


Before getting to the swing begin by teaching the hip hinge pattern. The easiest way to do so is to grasp the kettlebell in a handcuffed position behind your back. This handcuffed position will start to teach the shoulders back, superhero chest position that will be important in the swing and in the Olympic lifts. The bell will be slightly below the glutes at this point. The athlete should unlock their knees and drive their glutes into the bell . There will be a tactile sense when this happens correctly. If the athlete gets into a back bend pattern the bell will remain below their glutes and make contact with their hamstrings throughout the movment. Actually moving the hips backwards in space will bring the bell up higher and in contact with the glutes through the movement.


Do this movement slowly at first and then teach them to forcefully drive their hips to stand up. You have begun to teach the athlete to swing, and given them a hip hinge pattern to base much of their movement on.


Next teach the swing and the snap that comes along with it. The swing is an excellent first explosive exercise to teach because it does not reward poor positioning. A relaxed core will lead to the athlete being pulled forward on their toes. The swing teaches athletes to make “something” move with their hip hinge and hip extension rather than with their arms, which will come in handy in the Olympic lifts later on.


The big 3 at the high school level are squat, power clean and bench press so why aren’t we using this space for a push up? Quite simply many young athletes are not ready for the push up. For this reason we choose to teach directed stability in the plank to prepare the athlete for the push up.


Most athletes that we encounter for the first time lack total body stability. Trying to place them in positions that require strength before they have stability will only build on top of deficiency.


The goal of the plank should be to find stability throughout the body. Have the athletes lock the lats low, and forcefully contract the glutes and the quads. The core will be locked in without many cues at that point.


With these three movements athletes will develop important patterns that can assist them in learning to do more advanced or more heavily emphasized lifts in the high school weightroom. Equipping athletes with these patterns can lead to fewer injuries and more success for the young athletes we coach down the road.



Training Rotational Power in High School Athletes



By Ryan Ketchum


baseball swing, rotational power


Rotational Power

In almost every single sport that I can think of the more powerful athlete will win almost any battle within a competition. It is also no secret that our athletes are not moving in a linear direction for the majority of the time they are playing their sports. We need to be able to change direction and quickly accelerate in multiple directions under differing situations with multiple stimuli.


You might be asking "Why in the heck is this guy talking about change of direction and acceleration in a rotational power article?"


The point that I am trying to make is that often times we train our athletes for change of direction drills for speed and agility, but we focus on linear power development. You perform the Olympic lifts daily, you throw medicine balls forward, you jump, and the list goes on and on.