Plyometrics for football - building explosive power


Chris Stone

Personal trainer, football coach, and sports writer specializing in strength, conditioning, injury prevention, and sports performance. Chris earned a Sport and Exercise Science degree at Edinburgh Napier University.

How often do you train bench press? For most of you, probably too often. How many of you train to become more explosive? Probably not as many as it should be. Let’s dive into that. How does becoming strong on the bench transfer to improving your performance on the football pitch? Whilst, yes, it will have an impact on your performance, the influence it will have is minimal. Training to become more explosive and to become more efficient at jumping, turning, changing direction, cutting, accelerating, decelerating and moving in multiple directions will have a significant impact on your performance.

football specific fitness

Much of the training we participate in should mirror football specific movements that improve your efficiency of vital movements. Becoming more efficient with these movements will have a massively positive effect on your performance; you’ll find that you are faster and more powerful. Then you can focus on the technical side of your game. Lastly, this type of training will also improve your proprioceptive abilities - balance, coordination and reaction time, etc. Improving these skills will not only enhance your rate of force production and speed but will also reduce your risk of sustaining injury.

Football specific training will involve many speed, agility, and quickness (SAQ) drills along with plyometric exercises - explosive, maximal exercises designed to improve your power output.

plyometrics

While many football training sessions incorporate SAQ, plyometric exercises are rarely performed during these sessions. Plyometric training involves maximal force contractions with a goal of covering the greatest distance possible - either vertically, horizontally or laterally. Regularly training for explosive power will enhance your overall athleticism and have a noticeable impact on your football performance. Think about how often in a game you generate maximum power by jumping high for a header, striking the ball hard towards the goal, tackling to win a ball, or accelerating powerfully.

Plyometric exercises take advantage of the neurological reflex known as the Stretch-Shortening Cycle (SSC) which allows the individual to explode more powerfully. This reflex occurs when the muscle contraction changes from an eccentric (lengthening) to a concentric (shortening). To make the most of this reflex, the time taken to change from an eccentric to a concentric should be a short as possible. For example, when performing a countermovement jump, the hips should dip quickly before rapidly exploding upwards into the vertical jump. Another example would be, during the tuck jump, reduce the contact time of the feet on the floor; as soon as the feet hit the floor, you should be exploding upwards once again. Keep this principle in mind when performing any plyometric exercise.

power building plyometric exercises

tuck jump

jump switch lunges

broad jump

lateral skaters

plyo push up

 

The majority of the movement patterns involved are very simple and you don’t need any equipment. Therefore, these exercises are perfect for any individual regardless of your experience in training.

 For more information on plyometrics, check out the Matchfit Conditioning Fat Burn & Bodyweight Conditioning Program. Matchfit Conditioning is a fitness leader in football specializing in all aspects of fitness such as fat burn, nutrition, injury prevention, stamina, and speed. They have helped thousands of footballers across the world from amateur to pro become match fit.

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