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Plyometric Training for Runners

One thing you can do to help make yourself more resilient is plyometric training. It’s one area that I see runners missing in their program. Plyometrics is just jumping and that’s basically what running is: you are taking a bunch of single- leg jumps over and over again. Our muscles, our tendons and our bones need to be able to absorb that load from the ground.

When we think about incorporating plyometric training into what you’re doing already, it can be two times a week maximum, and the number of foot contacts are really minimal. If you’re a beginner, anywhere between 30 and 50 reps 30-50 times hitting the ground or 30-50 jumps), if you’re a little more advanced, 50 to 100 reps, and if you’re really experienced, over 100 reps. We only want to do this two times a week maximum, because if you’re already running four or five times a week, you are already doing a lot of those little plyometrics, over and over again.

Here is just a sample of a few different exercises, starting from beginner to a little bit more advanced, that you can include in your program:

  1. The first one is called a countermovement jump. If you have a little hurdle that’s awesome or use a dumbbell, a yoga lock, or anything that’s safe for you to jump over. To do a counter movement jump, you are on two feet, you’re just gonna bend your knees, jump, and land softly. When we land, we want to think about landing soft, landing like a pat. Your knees should point straight forward, and your butt goes back. We want to land soft, land with the knees straight forward and butt back.

  2. If you want to advance that you jump, you could jump onto one leg. You would start on two legs, bend both knees and jump but land on one leg, then turn around, jump and land on the other. You still want to land softly, you don’t want that knee to fall in, you want that knee to point straightforward.

  3. If you take the object away, you could do Foursquare jumping. Imagining you have four squares on the ground, you’re gonna jump forward, lateral and back. Then you can reverse it and go the other direction. Once that becomes pretty easy, you can add in diagonals so you’re working in all directions.

  4. The last exercise is polo dogs. We’re just working quick, round, action. You want to get up, off the ground as fast as possible.

Those are just a few different metric exercises that you can think about including in your strength program maximum two times a week.

Here at Peak Endurance Performance & Physical Therapy we help active adults in the Madison Area get back to the activities they love without pain or limitations. We see people of all ages, ability levels, and individuals trying to get back to a multitude of movements including: getting back into running, women postpartum, CrossFit athletes, climbers, gymnasts, wrestlers, overhead athletes, and your recreational weekend warrior. If you’re looking to get back to the activities that give you meaning, relieve stress, and make you feel like you again, feel free to reach out below and we’ll see if we’re the right fit for you.