7 Best Plyometric Exercises to Improve Running Economy
I recommend at least 8 to 10 weeks of running-specific strength training under your belt before you incorporate plyometrics. Furthermore, it is essential that you practice good form when implementing plyometric exercises. Performing them incorrectly can increase injury risk significantly.
Following the hard days hard, easy days easy principle, your plyometric workouts should come after your hard workout days. Complete plyometrics only once per week, and use other strength training days for core, hip and injury-prevention work. Try these seven plyometric exercises to boost power and improve running economy.
Small Effort, Big Results
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Just like with your running schedule, there isn't a "best" or "secret" plyometric routine that is better than any other. As long as the exercises are specific to running, you'll see significant benefits to your performance. Keep the total exercises to 8 to 10 different movements to prevent yourself from doing too much.
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Start with the easier exercises first so your legs have a chance to ease into the explosive movements. Don't force the repetitions if you start to get too tired or your form falters. It's better to perform 10 strong, correct repetitions than 15 sloppy ones.
Complete 15 reps on each leg 3 of 10
Balance on one leg with your other leg behind you. Place the trail leg on a bench or other support structure. Slowly bend down, as if in a one-legged squat position. Raise yourself back up.
Water Pump Hops
Complete 15 reps on each leg 4 of 10
Perform exactly as the regular water pump, but jump in an explosive fashion when driving the leg up. Take a four-second break between each jump to allow the stabilizing muscles to balance and steady the body.
Height Skips ?
Complete 15 reps on each leg 5 of 10
Skip across the ground, jumping as high as you can with each skip. Concentrate on the height of your skips, not the distance. Practice landing softly on the balls of your feet.
Complete 15 reps total 6 of 10
While keeping your legs straight, jump into the air using only your ankles for power. Don't bend your knees or your hips.
Jumps for Distance ?
Complete 15 reps total 7 of 10
From a standing position, jump as far out and forward as you can, like a standing long jump.
Toe Taps ?
Complete 15 reps on each leg 8 of 10
Find a surface that is 2 to 3 feet high. Stand in front of the surface and perform a version of high knees, except tap the top of the surface with each foot.
Complete 10 reps on each leg 9 of 10
From a lunge position, jump into the air. While in the air, switch your legs so that whichever leg was in front of you now becomes the trail leg. Land with your legs switched, and drop into the lunge position again. Repeat.