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How do I Choose the Best Plyometrics for Speed?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2016
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Choosing exercises that utilize plyometrics for speed will improve "explosiveness," or the muscle's ability to move quickly and powerfully. Using plyometrics to increase speed is very effective, but can also be very risky if not done properly. The exercises are high intensity and require fast, hard movements. Before attempting plyometrics for speed, it is a good idea to consult a professional trainer to help develop a safe and effective plan for building speed safely. Most of the plyometrics for speed exercises will involve jumping and lateral movement, so it is also a good idea to have a spotter nearby.

The most common exercise that uses plyometrics for speed is the box jump. This involves standing in front of a stable box or platform that is a safe distance higher than the floor. You will stand with your feet about hip-width, then jump forward onto the box. Hold the position momentarily, then jump back down. The exercise is simple enough, but without landing properly, you can damage your joints, especially your knees. Be sure to land softly and bend at the knees to absorb impact. A variation of this exercise can be done with more than one box. The second box should be higher off the ground than the first. After jumping up and onto the first box, jump down off the other side and onto the second box.

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Kangaroo hops help develop explosiveness and speed as well. Start by standing straight up with the feet hip-length apart. Then bend at the knees, making sure to keep your back straight. Jump forward in a high hopping motion. At the height of the hop, kick your feet upward toward the buttocks in a quick motion. Then prepare to land and absorb the shock by bending at the knees. Repeat this exercise several times for a high intensity workout.

A single leg hop to the side can build speed in the legs rapidly. This exercise requires balance and coordination, and people new to the exercise should have a spotter nearby. Start by standing straight up with your feet about hip-width apart. Jump forward and to the side and land on the leg in the direction that you jumped — for example, if you jumped right, land on your right leg. Absorb the shock by bending slightly at the knee. Hold the position for a moment, then jump forward and in the opposite direction, landing on the other leg. Repeat this exercise for several repetitions, then rest.

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