speed 5


an athlete really wants to reach full potential, they must be able to convert their strength into power. Power is defined as the ability of the neuro-muscular system to create a force rapidly. In its simplest term, power = strength + speed

  • Strength– the maximal amount of force a muscle can generate under a given set of conditions
  • Speed– the ability to move from one point to another point as fast as possible

Methodologies to improve power:

  • Olympic lifting
  • Plyometrics
  • Strength training with speed component

For the sake of this discussion, I am going to concentrate on plyometrics to improve power (along with strength). Plyometrics is a system of hopping, skipping, jumping, or running that works on developing explosive power and maximally recruiting fast-twitch muscle fiber by eccentrically loading a muscle and quickly producing a concentric force. Plyometrics are exercises that enable a muscle to reach maximum strength in as short a time as possible. The faster the eccentric movement (the loading phase), the more stored elastic energy will be released, resulting in a more explosive jump.

Benefits of plyometrics:

  • Improves power & elasticity
  • Trains the nervous system
  • Improves anaerobic conditioning
  • Transformation of muscle strength into power
  • Recruitment of most motor units and their corresponding muscle fibers
    • Develops fast twitch muscle fiber!!!

    Rules of plyometrics:

    • Perform on soft surface
    • Do early in your routine
    • Land softly
    • Have adequate strength base before introducing advanced levels of plyometrics (approx. 10 weeks of resistance training)
    • No pain should be experienced in joints
    • Be attentive to form & technique
    • Be sure to stretch & work on strength & flexibility when using plyometrics as part of program
    • Use a 1:3 work/rest ratio for most plyometric exercises
    • Can be performed in many ways:
      • immediately after dynamic warm-up
      • Infuse it during your workout and perform immediately after a strength exercise (complex training)
      • Can be performed on speed days also performed as separate sessions

    3 Basic Categories of Lower Body Plyometric Exercises:

    • Jumping—taking off on one or two feet; landing on 2 feet (jumping jacks, leap frogs)
    • Hopping—taking off on one foot and landing on same foot (single leg hopping over line)
    • Bounding—taking off on one foot and landing on other foot (alternate leg bounds)

    3 Stages of Plyometric Program Design:

    Off-Season (General Conditioning)—2 to 3 times per week; 80-100 foot contacts

    Pre-Season (Sport Specific)—2 to 3 times per week; 100-150 foot contacts

    In-Season (Sport Specific Maintenance)—1 to 2 times per week; 80-100 foot contacts