Winter sports demand a combination of stamina and cardio fitness as well as strength. But to really kick your season into high gear, you’ll need to add power. Plyometrics, also known as plyo or jump training, has proven to be the go-to drill for high-performing athletes who want to add power to their performance.
Plyo involves explosive compound movements such as jumps, skips and hops. Exercises are performed with just bodyweight, or a very light load. The goal is to achieve maximum force production in a minimum amount of time by quickly lengthening, then contracting, your muscles.
Plyo works to help build fasttwitch muscle fibres. This will increase the force and speed of your muscular action. Force plus speed equals power.
Not for newbies
Plyo is not intended for beginning athletes, or those recovering from injury. You should be able to perform about ten deep single leg squats before starting a jump training program. Because it is hi-intensity, keep plyo training to just twice weekly. Combine it with your strength and conditioning routine, under the supervision of a trained professional.
If you have a good solid fitness base, give this sample session a try. Focus on good form, and all-out effort.
Squat jumps: Squat, then explode upward as high as you can. Land lightly, absorbing the impact. Repeat ten times.
Hop: Six forward hops on each leg.
Frog jumps: Jump as far forward on both legs as you can go. Repeat five times.
Side to side: Keeping your feet together, jump quickly from side to side. Jump over a line or add a small obstacle such as a cone or small box. Repeat twenty times.
With the hint of winter in the air, it’s time to get jumping if you want a power-packed season on the slopes.