Using plyometrics is one of the most effective techniques Diego’s trainer uses to help him increase his speed and power.
A muscle stretched before contraction will contract more forcefully and rapidly. And that is basically what plyometric exercises do…
They stretch muscles rapidly and then immediately demand a powerful concentric contraction. For example…
Imagine the jumping movement to win a header.
The very first phase of this movement has to be a downward thrust. Try it. Try jumping off the ground without first bending your knees.
As you “dip” down just before a standing jump you are stretching muscle groups like the quadriceps and hip extensors. These are the muscles that will contract very forcefully a split second later to produce the jump. Now here’s the key…
The shorter or more rapid this downward movement or pre-stretching phase is, the more forcefully those muscle groups can contract. And hence… lift off!
Can you see how general strength training like lifting heavy weights with a controlled rhythm does nothing to promote a quick pre-stretching phase?
NO weights are used when performing plyometrics for soccer. Bodyweight provides ample resistance.
It’s not just jumping that requires this “pre-stretching” type of movement. Any explosive movement – rapid changes in direction, sprinting (as each leg is planted on the ground) and of course, kicking, will all benefit from plyometrics for soccer.