Increase your speed - single leg plyo's

1+1 = Speed!

The fastest sprinters have an optimal stride length, stride frequency, and very short contact time with the ground. What if I told you that you can take steps to becoming a faster sprinter just by jumping? No, that’s not a typo… I said jumping. That may seem absurd, but it’s true. You could perform a 4-week plyometric program and become faster without running a single suicide, as long as the program is designed properly. It must include:

1.) Single leg jumps

2.) Broad jumps

Let me give you a slight glimpse of the magic behind our secret. Broad jumps and single leg jumps. Take the emphasis off vertical jumps. By doing this, you will increase your muscular power. I want you to visualize the fastest person you know. Imagine how quick their feet make contact with the ground, how long their strides are, how frequent their strides are, and how long their flight time is. All of these things depend on muscular power; and that is exactly what you train through broad jumps and single leg jumps. There are other types of jumps that will also train muscular power, but broad jumps and single leg jumps are most highly correlated with sprint speed.

Why is that? Well first of all, almost all movement in sport is performed on a single leg. Look at Tyson Gay, and Usain Bolt above - these two are undoubtably the fastest men of all time. Notice how both are literally hovering over the ground, neither man is jumping into the air, but rather, each is propelling themselves forward on a single leg! You don’t see athletes hopping around like flamingos, but every step taken, every shuffle, and every lay-up starts with one foot. If you look at someone running, only one foot is in contact with the ground (that is the difference between running and walking). And why broad jumps (or horizontal jumps)? Because they are similar to the drive phase of sprinting. When you sprint, the goal is to accelerate forward as quickly as possible, not upwards.

We will talk about this more later, but remember, you are training for maximal power. That doesn’t mean you should go perform broad jumps across the entire football field. And we definitely don’t want you doing skaters (single leg lateral jumps) for 2 minutes. Maximal effort means very short sets with high intensities followed by rest. For example, if you actually did broad jumps across the football field, I can guarantee you wouldn’t be jumping much further than 3 feet each jump at the end. To put it bluntly, that is a lame jump. And if you train to jump lame distances, than you are going to perform the same way during competition. Allow for recovery, and train for max distance. Enough said.

To catch a glimpse of some plyos that we use with our athletes to deveop single leg power check out the video...

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