Plyometric and reactive training is the natural progression of advancement in movement patters.
After one has established solid, fundamental movement patterns and can consistently demonstrate strength within those movements, it is now time to start introducing plyometrics and reactive training into a program. I will outline a program for introducing ankle, knee, and hip stability exercises and how to properly implement these exercises to decrease injury potential and improve overall power.
Within my training system, I utilize the Step360 Pro to accommodate my overall programming, exercise progressions, and/or the fitness level of my clients. One of the main reasons I like using the Step360 Pro is because of the optimal surface of the flat solid platform on top of the balance chambers. This platform provides a solid standing or landing surface for safety when performing stability or single leg based exercises. I also like the dual-chambers that provide different stability levels. By adjusting the inflation levels of the Step360 Pro, I can modify the height and the overall compression range of the dual-chambers to increase or decrease the level of stability provided.
The progression of plyometrics follows the list below:
1st – Floor Based Exercise
2nd – Step360 Pro – Single Chamber Fully Inflated
3rd – Step360 Pro – Double Chambers Fully Inflated
4th – Step360 Pro – Double Chambers Partially Inflated
When introducing plyometric exercises, start with a foundation of double leg movements. These movements should focus on deceleration to strengthen ankle, knee, and hip intrinsic joint strength and to increase overall activation of the stabilizers to strengthen these muscle groups.
Plyometric Exercises – Level 1:
2-to-2 Leg Drop Squat
2-to-2 Leg Jump
After applying double leg stability and power-based exercises for 3-9 weeks the progression is to work on single leg movements. This will increase the difficulty and requirements of the muscle recruitment for stabilization.
Plyometric Exercises – Level 2:
2-to-1 Leg Drop Squat
1-to-1 Leg Hop
Finally, after establishing the strength and solid consistency with single leg movements for another 3-9 weeks, the next progression is to perform reactive training drills. These drills have an initial movement before the exercise to teach agility and decrease reactive training time.
Plyometric Exercise – Level 3:
2-to-2 Double Jump Stick
Throughout these exercises you can see the importance of incorporating natural progressions to prevent injury and improve overall strength and stability before moving to the next level. Building a base is extremely important and will also benefit the clients overall power potential by building global lower body strength.