Plyometrics workout for runners

Plyometric exercises prepare your body to make the quick, forceful movements that propel you as you run. These exercises improve your control, strength, and power so that your legs perform those movements better.

Plyometric exercises train your joints to move the way you need them to move when you run.

Joint movement is measured in degrees, the same kind of degrees you use to measure an angle, such as a 90-degree angle. When you run, the joints in your legs can move at speeds of up to 1,000 degrees per second.

Plyometric exercises simulate those rapid joint movements and help you improve your control of those movements, which can help you avoid injury.

Plyometric exercises for runners

You can perform plyometric exercises indoors or outdoors, as long as you’re on a flat surface. Try to avoid concrete or other extremely hard surfaces that could injure you if you fall.

Your feet should land softly with each step. Avoid hard landings or stomping your feet.

Ladders, line hops, and dot hops require markings on the floor to guide where you need to move. You can make your own markings using tape or other flat materials. Don’t use objects that could cause you to trip or lose your balance if you step on them.

Matrix jacks require an elastic band that you can buy at a sporting goods store or online.

Box hoppers require a step aerobics box, or you can use the bottom step of a sturdy staircase.

Perform plyometrics two days per week. You should always perform a dynamic warmup before doing these exercises.

Plyometrics exercise set 1

For all ladders exercises, do each version 1 to 3 times for 40 feet or your desired length.

  • 0:00 Ladders—forward, two feet each box
  • 0:12 Ladders—lateral, two feet each box
  • 0:18 Ladders—forward, one foot each box
  • 0:25 Ladders—in-in, out-out
  • 0:36 Ladders—in-in, out-out, zig-zag shuffle
  • 0:46 Line jumps—two feet, front/back, with bounce (12 jumps, 1 to 3 sets)
  • 0:57 Dot hops—two feet (3 rounds each way, 1 to 3 sets)
  • 1:06 Leg hops—alternating hop/hold (10 jumps, 1 to 3 sets)
  • 1:32 Leg hops—alternating with bounce (10 jumps, 1 to 3 sets)

Plyometrics exercise set 2

  • 0:00 Matrix jacks (3 reps, 30 seconds each)
  • 0:13 Line hops—one foot, forward, with pause (12 hops, 3 sets)
  • 0:29 Line hops—one foot, forward, no pause (12 hops, 3 sets)
  • 0:38 Line hops—one foot, front/back, with bounce (10 hops, 3 sets)
  • 1:06 Line hops—one foot, side/side, with bounce (10 hops, 3 sets)
  • 1:30 Dot hops—one foot (hop to each dot 3 times, 2 to 3 sets)
  • 1:50 Box hoppers (12 reps, 3 sets)
  • 2:03 Skater hops (1 rep of 45 to 60 seconds, 3 sets)
  • 2:16 Jump rope—two feet (50 reps, 2 to 3 sets)
  • 2:26 Jump rope—alternate right/left (50 reps, 2 to 3 sets)
  • 2:41 Jump rope—one foot (15 reps per foot, 2 to 3 sets)
Last reviewed: 
December 2018

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