Research has shown that runners who employ plyometrics in their training perform better in time trials on less mileage than runners who only run. So why not make time for a simple plyo routine each week? Plyo has the potential to improve your overall strength and running economy by training efficient muscle recruitment for the running motion.
Start with a 5- to 10-minute warm-up before completing this plyometric workout. Try incorporating it into your training twice each week for starters.
Photos: Oliver Baker
Stand with your feet shoulder- width apart. Bend both knees, squatting your body slightly downward to recoil. With both feet, spring upward into the air, swinging your arms up for momentum. Be sure to land softly with your knees bent. Repeat 15–20 times.
Skip forward, but instead of emphasizing forward movement, work to get maximum vertical height with each skip. To do this, drive your right knee and left arm upward and then alternate. Proceed for 20 meters, turn around and repeat.
Get set as if you were going to jog forward. Instead of driving your knees forward, bring your heels to your backside as you jog. Pick up your feet as fast as possible, focusing on cadence over the forward distance. Proceed for 20 meters, turn around and repeat.
Pick your left leg up off the ground and hop forward as far as possible on your right foot. As soon as you land, fire off the ground again and continue hopping forward on the right foot for 15 meters. Then turn around and repeat on the other leg.
After getting a running start, begin bounding by exploding off the ground with each step and emphasizing the length of your stride. Work to go as far as possible with each step by driving the front knee forward. Proceed for 50 meters, turn around and repeat.
Single-Leg Bleacher Hops
Stand on one leg at the bottom of a flight of bleacher steps or stairs. Hop up a flight, walk back down, and repeat on the other leg. Complete two flights per side.