It's important for players to maintain a regimented workout routine. Strength training and conditioning through the offseason keeps players in top shape for when training camp rolls around.
One good workout is the jump squat routine. This is a low-impact routine that really helps develop the hip flexors -- a key muscle group in the development of explosion that all athletes need to excel in their sport.
The jump squat routine consists of five quick parallel squats (traditional technique), followed by five box squats and finished off with five reps on the Super Cat.
Parallel squat: In this traditional squat, position your feet slightly wider than your shoulders. Lower your body until the hamstrings are parallel to the floor -- keeping the chest erect and knees over the toes. Driving through the heels, extend the knees and hips back up.
Box squat: With a straight back, bend at the knees and squat back onto a box that is at or below knee-height. Relax the hip flexors and then contract them as you rise off the box -- using the box to maintain consistent and proper form.
Super Cat machine: Some gyms may have a similar machine called a Leaper or a Sky Hawk. Put resistance on the machine, squat down and then jump up.
The key is to move from one exercise to the next -- quickly and with little rest in between. After the five parallels you should rack the weight -- taking just enough time to change the weight for the box squats and get the squat stool in position.
After the box squats, you should rack the weight and move immediately to the Super Cat. On each lift be quick and explosive. Use about 50 to 60 percent of your maximum squat weight for the parallels and explode upwards.
I recommend doing this routine once per week and going through it twice on the day you use it. Following a routine, including exercises like this, will allow players to maintain their strength and endurance throughout the year -- making it easier to get going when the season comes back around.
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