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Play ClubFootball - Training

Considerations in Program Design of Plyometric Training

This article was generously provided by Michael Rose, MS (University of Pittsburgh) CSCS (Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist) of New Wave Soccer Conditioning.

New Wave Soccer Conditioning ( is an on-line, soccer specific strength & conditioning program that includes videos, graphic pictures/photos, & written instructions for drills/exercises along with program design options for those individuals interested in purchasing the program (by clicking on any 'signup' link buttons on the web site).

Last month抯 tip focused on the purpose of plyometric drills for the soccer athlete. This month抯 tip will focus on program design considerations when using plyometric drills. Soccer players, who decide to utilize plyometric drills in their conditioning program, should be aware of a few program design considerations.

It is important to perform plyometric drills when you are fresh. If you perform these drills when the body is fatigued (like after a practice), you are more likely to do the exercises in bad form and injuries could be the end result.

The athlete should not add any additional external weight when utilizing plyometric drills. The additional weight would be too much stress for most athletes, and would likely increase the risk of injury.

When utilizing plyometrics, there are 4 variables, which need to be adjusted during the training program throughout the year; Intensity, Volume, Recovery Period (Work to Rest Ratio), and Frequency.

Intensity for lower body plyometrics can be based on the type of jumps utilized, the decision of using one or two legs during a jump, and the distance of a jump.

For lower body plyometrics, volume is determined by the total number of foot contacts used during a training session. The number of foot contacts can be increased as training progresses during the off-season, and as one enters the pre-season.

However, the total volume should not be very high during the actual in-season. The actual volume should also be determined by the age and experience level of the soccer athlete. Therefore, youth soccer athletes, who are also less experienced, would start with a lower total number of foot contacts compared to older, more experienced soccer athletes.

The recovery period is the amount of time that is used between performing sets of specific exercises or drills. Plyometrics are power exercises, so it is important to utilize a work to rest ratio of 1:5 or longer. Shorter rest periods would cause the muscles to become fatigued, which could have a negative effect on the quality of training.

Frequency refers to how often exercises/drills are used during a week or a training cycle. It is recommended to use plyometrics two times each week with 2-3 days rest between the training sessions. It is strongly suggested that a lower body resistance training program be implemented prior to starting plyometric training, to develop a strength base to prepare the knees to tolerate the stress of plyometrics.

This strength base is especially important prior to using moderate to high intensity level plyometric drills. It is also strongly recommended not to perform plyometric drills on the same days that are used for lower body resistance training.

Michael Rose, MS, CSCS offers an on-line, soccer specific strength & conditioning program at

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