Saturday, August 28, 2010

Weekly Exercise #5- Fun with Plyos Series

This week, I have decided to bust out the big guns... No more stretching, no more simple ab exercises, this is the week we start really kicking it into gear. Since my whole athletic career has been centered around explosiveness and quickness, I have much more expertise in the areas of becoming quicker and more explosive rather than being able to run for days.

You may want to ask "Why coach, as a long distance runner, would I want to be concerned with quickness and explosiveness. I am an endurance machine"! I would answer by saying there are several reasons why a distance runner would want to increase their quickness and explosiveness.

1.) Boy This is Steep- Hills are the bain of existence for any distance runner. Hills require much more strength in the quads than normal running. This is because the knee lift must be much higher going up hills. Increasing your explosive muscle strength allows your muscles to recover faster and repeat the higher knee lift motion more easily.

2.) Is That Bernard Legat?- Every distance runner is primarily concerned with endurance, as well they should be. However, speed is an important factor in any distance runner, especially if you are interested in going faster... and who isn't? Elite distance runners also are very fast individuals. They just happen to have that unique combination of elite speed and a crazy love for running many, many, many miles. Increasing baseline speed will increase your ability to maintain an increased speed throughout your race.

3.) Kick Baby, Kick- Whether it is needing an extra few seconds to beat a PR, passing that one extra person, or just looking impressive for the crowd, everybody wants to have a good kick. That last little burst at the end of a race is all about using that extra bit of explosiveness and power. And what better way to make that kick all the more impressive than to increase quickness and explosiveness?

There are many other reasons every distance runner should add plyometrics into their regular training routine, but I figured I would stop boring you with the reasons to do it, and just get to the meat and potatoes of it (or potatoes and potatoes for our vegetarian friends).

This week we will start off with a very basic move that will be the foundation of our plyometric workout. We will kick off the plyo series with Squat Jumps. Squat Jumps target the biggest muscles in your legs. This will work your butt, quads, and to a lesser extent, your hamstrings. Oh boy, I can hardly contain my excitement... Can you feel it?

Start off with your feet slightly wider than shoulder length apart, perform a parallel (or as close to parallel as you can get) squat and jump out of this squat as high as you can. Land on the ground and repeat. Pretty simple eh? Try to keep your back straight, don't want anybody hurting their backs. Definitely use your arms and everything else you have to get the maximum amount of height out of your jump.

The first week you do this exercise, do 2 sets of 20, 3 days a week. The next week, you will increase by 5 each set. The idea is you are going to increase by 10 total reps per week. So when you get to week 3, you should cut it back to 3 sets of 20.

Just make sure you don't hit your head on the ceiling!
Keep up this for a couple months and pretty soon you will have power to spare and will find yourself getting HUGE PR's.

As always, let me know if you already use Squat Jumps to make your running epic. Also, tell me what you've done to modify this workout. Squat Jumps alone does not a plyo workout make, but I promise, there are many more goodies to go.


Joanne @ mostlyfitmom said...

Yup, I do jump squats. When my trainer is feeling mean...I mean, when she wants to push me to be stronger, I do jump squats and then tuck jumps on a Bosu. It's killer!

Lesley @ said...

I think you've almost convinced me to try this during the week. ;-)