A great way to get better
Looking for an edge over your competition when poised on the starting block and the gun goes off? Are your flip turns and push-offs lackluster and weak instead of razor sharp and explosive? Wouldn’t it be great if you could incorporate an exercise out of the water to increase your power off the starting block as well as ensure quick and explosive turns? If your answer to any of these questions is a definitive “yes,” then plyometrics may very well be your solution.
Simply put, plyometrics can be explained as a form of exercise that uses powerful muscular contractions in response to dynamic loading or stretching of the muscles about to be used. In the case of powerful starts and quick turns, this would involve developing lower body explosive strength. Traditionally, dryland training programs have focused on upper body strength and minimally on lower body power.
Try the following plyometric exercise and tip the scales in your favor for strong starts and turns.
How to do it: Using a TRX suspension apparatus (available at most gyms these days), place a handle in each hand and step back far enough so that your arms are straight.
With your feet hip distance apart, perform a squat dropping your buttocks to just below parallel with your knees.
From this squat position, quickly jump up into the air pushing off the floor with your toes, and then land back in the squat position. Keep your arms straight through the entire movement.
Perform this move six to eight times in rapid succession and then take a rest break. Try to jump high and land as lightly on the floor back into a squat as you possibly can. There should be no stopping or resting in the squat position; instead, as soon as you land you should be ready to push off the floor to explode upward again.
Lisa Hiller is a private strength and conditioning coach with Masters degrees in Exercise Physiology and Education. She is an ASCA-certified swim coach and holds certifications in CrossFit Training, Egoscue Postural Therapy and Heus ProBodX. Currently the Metropolitan LMSC Fitness Education/Sports Medicine Chair, Lisa also serves on the USMS National Sports Medicine and Science Committee, swims and coaches with AquaFit Masters, and is in charge of the AquaFit dryland training program.
- Technique and Training