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> Plyometric exercises for runners – 8 best exercises

Plyometric exercises for runners – 8 best exercises

Publish date 26.10.2022

You can read it in 8 minut

Plyometric exercises for runners – 8 best exercises

Do you want to be unbeatable? Achieve better and better results and become an athlete who can handle even difficult situations? Do you want to develop and run faster and faster? You probably think that to achieve this you need some spartan daily training. However, to achieve this you need to add plyometric exercises for runners to your training. These are the ones that will allow you to achieve your goals. 

We know how precious time is in today’s world. However, take a few minutes to read this article and find out what are plyometric exercises, learn their brief history, what are the advantages and what are the best plyometric exercises. 

What are plyometric exercises? 

Let’s start with the basic question: what are plyometric exercises or more precisely plyometric training? You need to know this, to understand why it is so important in training. 

Plyometric training is a very intense exercise that will help you develop your speed and power. What’s more, your fitness will improve and your body will be more sculpted. Plyometric exercises focus on contracting and stretching muscles – rapidly stretching a muscle and then contracting quickly. In short, these are movements that generate a lot of force in a very short period of time. 

Such training makes a person faster, more agile, and has much better reflexes. Therefore, this type of exercise is used in such sports as running, martial arts, basketball, and rugby, among others. 

As for plyometric exercises, they focus primarily on strength exercises and jumping. These are the ones that combine speed with strength. 

“Just reading about it sounds very tiring. After a few exercises and repetition, I won’t have any strength.” 

Yes, this training is indeed hard and very intense. Moreover, it puts a strain on your joints and muscles. That’s why you need to do the exercises correctly – technique is key here. If your movements are sloppy and incorrect then you can get injured. This is what every sportsman wants to avoid. 

Plyometric exercises – a brief history 

Not everyone is interested in history. However, if you love to learn new facts, this is the subsection for you!

Looking at the name, someone may think that this type of training was created only recently. However, here you may be surprised. The history of this workout goes back to the 1950s. They were first used in the former Soviet Union by high jumpers and triple jumpers. At that time the exercises had a different name than they do now. The name used was just jumping exercises. 

Since then, plyometrics slowly began to develop, especially in athletic sports. Then it also moved to other sports, such as those I mentioned earlier in the text.

What to keep in mind before starting plyometric exercises? 

There are a few important things you need to keep in mind before you start training. They are: 

  • Your fitness and condition – exercises should be chosen according to your current condition and fitness. You can’t overload your body and do a strength workout. Doing so can overdo it, and that may lead to injury. 
  • Warm-up – no workout can be done without a warm-up, and the same goes for plyometric exercises. 
  • Clothing – this point may seem ridiculous, but good clothing is essential. It should be comfortable and not restrict your movements. 
  • Proper shoes – 3 important aspects when it comes to shoes: stiff uppers, hard soles, and fit. 
  • Accuracy – I have mentioned this before – exercise technique is important. Precise movements will protect you from injury. 
Warm-up before plyometric exercises
If you do the exercises before running, remember to do a warm-up.

Plyometric exercises – advantages 

As I mentioned earlier, this type of training is good if you want to improve your speed and achieve better running performance. For runners, they are most recommended for sprinters and people who run short distances

“And I’m a long-distance runner!”

You too can perform these exercises. They will bring you many benefits! 

What are the advantages of plyometric training?

  • It improves agility, and flexibility and gives a more springy stride.
  • It helps you maintain your running pace for as long as possible, and what’s more, it increases your running speed (short foot-to-floor contact).
  • Helps when running uphill, as it increases rebound dynamics – speed and power. 
  • Improved running economy and technique. 
  • Allows you to accelerate before the finish line and achieve maximum power in a short time. 
  • Improves fitness and strengthens joints, tendons, and ligaments. 
  • Improves muscle performance and reaction speed. 

What else should you know before you start plyometric exercises?

Before I will show you a couple of examples of plyometric exercises you need to know a few more things that will make your training beneficial and improve your fitness and endurance. 

As I’m sure you’ve already had time to observe, the workout puts a lot of strain on your joints and muscles. That’s why you can do them if you’ve already had a few months of exercise. You should strengthen your muscles – do strength and stretching exercises. If you are adapted you can start plyometric exercises. 

Such training is not for young people, because their musculoskeletal system is not sufficiently developed. Therefore, only adults should perform it. 

Workouts should be tailored individually to each runner. Therefore, it is worth doing exercises under the guidance of a trainer. He will choose the right exercises to suit your age, flexibility, fitness, and coordination of movement. 

How many, how long, and where? – plyometric exercises 

You should do plyometric training no more than 3 times a week. It is a weight-bearing workout, so you should have time for recovery and rest properly. 

As for the number of repetitions of a given exercise, it should also not be high. 10-12 repetitions are enough. Also, remember to take breaks between exercises. Give yourself a 1-2 minute break to recover and after a while go for the next exercise 😉 

Perform plyometric training on flat and soft ground. Avoid hard concrete or asphalt surfaces. Why? The load on your joints and muscles will be even greater than normal. Choose a forest path or grass. If you want to train indoors, invest in a felt mat. 

Should you do plyometrics before or after running?

Specialists believe that plyometric exercises should be performed after training. After performing them, it is worth giving yourself plenty of time to recover and get your body back into shape. Earlier I said that you can do such training 3 times a week. 2 times a week will also make you run faster, and your musculoskeletal system will be strengthened. 

Who should not do plyometric exercises? 

  • Children and adolescents – incomplete development of the osteoarticular system. 
  • People who have osteoporosis. 
  • People who have back problems. 
  • People who recently have had an injury – should first consult a doctor to perform this type of exercise. 
  • People who have problems with the osteoarticular system. 
Plyometric exercises - pain
If you feel pain – stop your training. You can make your injury even worse if you continue.

The best plyometric exercises for runners

I will show you examples of plyometric exercises that you can add to your training routine. During this training, pay attention to proper foot spacing, and flexion at the ankles, knees, and hips.

Here are examples of plyometric exercises that you can do! 

1. Hopping with both feet 

  • Spread your feet apart and start doing light jumps. 
  • The jumps should be dynamic and fast. 
  • Keep your torso straight. 
  • Arms along the torso. 
  • Slightly bent knees.

There is also a second version of the same exercise. In this case, you need to perform a jump and then kick your heels into your buttocks. 

NOTE: For the second version, remember to work your arms – they are the ones that will help you jump. 

Repeat: 10 times.  

2. Multi jumps 

This exercise involves jumping and thus moving forward.

  • Bounce high off the ground and lift your knees high. 
  • In this way, “walk” slowly forward. 
  • The torso should be straight. 
  • Work your arms intensively.

Cover about 30-50 meters in this way

3. Hop over obstacles 

What do you need? Hurdles that will be about 30 cm high. 

  • Spacing the hurdles about 50 cm apart. 
  • While jumping, lifting your knees high. 
  • Work with your hands – make a sweep with both hands. 

4. Jumping on the box – one leg

Disclaimer: If you don’t have a special exercise box that you can jump on, you can use, for example, a staircase or other elevation.  

  • Stand in front of the elevation on one leg. 
  • Kick out and jump onto the elevation. 
  • Land on the leg that was previously raised and not touching the ground.

5. Jump on and off the elevation 

  • Stand in front of an elevation.
  • Strike out hard and land with both feet on the elevation.
  • After landing, immediately go into a squat. 
  • Straighten up and repeat the exercise. 
Jumping on the box - plyometric exercises
You can do this exercises everywhere – gym, your house, outdoor.

6. Jump up with toes raised 

  • Stand straight, feet together. 
  • Bend your legs at the knees and jump up. 
  • After the bump, straighten your legs and pull your toes up. 

Repeat: around 8 times. 

7. Carioca drill 

Here I probably do not need to explain much. This is a side-to-side run, where you perform an additional cross-step. Run in this position for about 30 meters in one direction and then in the other. 

What to do with your hands? You should have them raised to the side. 

8. Skipping rope 

For this task, you will need…a skipping rope. I’m guessing that when you were a child you often used skipping rope, or if not, you exercised at school with this equipment. 

  • Jump up when the skipping rope is close to your feet.
  • Do arm swings to keep the skipping rope in constant motion. 
  • Try to keep the contact between your feet and the ground as short as possible. 
Plyometric exercises - jumping rope

There are the best plyometric exercises (in my opinion) for people who run. 

In this article, you learned what plyometric exercises are, their history, and the best plyometric exercises for runners. These exercises will help you develop your speed and power. Remember also to give yourself time to recover. Want to learn more interesting exercises for runners that will help you strengthen your body? Click HERE

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