Vakava Team Photo

Vakava Team Photo
Vakava Racers at the Mora Last Chance Race

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Plyo Strength

So, I had a pretty great season and people keep asking me what I did to come back from almost a year in Antarctica and be able to race like that. I think that the biggest thing was my strength training. I've never been great about consistently working on my strength, but while I was at Pole there was a group of us that went through several strength programs together. My favorite, and the one I think was most useful, was Insanity, which focuses on quickness and power.

The other week, I did a demo workout at Vakava practice. I got some requests to write up a description of some of the exercises we did. I tried, but it ended up being easier to video myself. So, below is a video of me doing example exercises, along with a short description of each:

ETA: I just posted the video on YouTube, so it isn't searchable yet. Until then, click here to view it.

Basketball Drill: Touch the ground and go up for a jump shot.
Level 1 Drill: Get down into push-up/high plank position, do four floor runs, then four push-ups, and jump up to standing
Ski Abs: Start in high plank. Keeping your legs together, jump your knees up, so that they are along side your chest. Then jump back to high plank. Jump to the other side. Try to keep your butt down for these.
Power Push-ups: Do a push-up, but on the way back up, launch yourself into your feet.

Switch Jumps: Similar to the b-ball drill, but rotate 180 degrees with each jump.
Squat Push-ups: Get into a squat position, with your elbows inside your knees. Fall forward onto your hands. Do a push-up, pushing yourself back to an upright position.
In-Out Abs: High plank position. Keeping your knees together, jump them up underneath your chest. For wide in-out abs, separate your feet and jump them up to the outside of your chest.
Power jumps: Start in a squat, then jump up. Your knees should come up high enough to hit your hands.

Pogo: On one leg. Bend and touch the ground with your hands. Then come up and hop into the air. The way down should be slow and controlled. The way up should be fast and explosive.
Side Suicide Jumps: Start standing. Bring your hands to the ground on one side of your body. Jump your legs out so that you are in a side plank position, but with both hands on the ground. Jump back in and up. Do both sides.
Full Body Drill: Similar to L1 drill. Get down to high plank. Four floor runs, four moving push-ups, four wide floor runs, jump up. Go back the other direction.
Plank punches: In high plank position, alternate punching straight out with each arm.

Moving Ski Hops: With legs together, squat down and then launch yourself sideways. Do four in one direction, then go back in the other direction. Can go for distance or height.
Oblique Push-ups: Do a push-up, but try to bring your knee up so that it touches your elbow. Do both sides.
Moving Planks: High planks, but walk yourself from side to side.
Floor Switch Kicks: Get into crab position (feet and hands on the ground, with your torso facing upward. Alternate kicking your feet into the air. Try to keep your hips high and butt off the ground.

Frog Jumps: Leap frog going forwards and backwards.
V Push-ups: Get into a pike position, with your fingers pointed inwards, and your heels off the ground. Do push-ups, trying to touch your head to the ground.
Slow/Fast Obliques: Similar to oblique push-ups, but stay in high plank.
Diamond Jumps: Start in squat position. Jump up, bringing your hands together, and your feet together, so that you make a diamond with your legs.

Hip Flexor Burners: Stand on one leg. Bring the other leg up so that the thigh is parallel with the ground and the knee is bent. Do toe touches, then pulses, then kicks, then hold. Switch legs.
C-Sit Progression: Sit with your knees up and bent in front of you. Lean back so that your hands come just in front of your butt, and your spine is curved. Start with your hands clasped in front of you, elbows out. Slowly move your hands from side to side. Then add legs, so that your knee touches the opposite forearm. Bring your hands into an A-frame above your head. Repeat the movements. Bring your hands to the ground in front of your butt. Put one leg straight out in front of you, while the other stays bent. Lift the straight leg off the ground. Bring it in, out, up, and down. Same with the other leg, then both legs together.
High/Low Planks: Start in a high plank. Go down to a low plank. Go back up. Vary which side leads.
Shoulder Burners: Get into horse stance (high squat). Bring your arms out so they make a T. Start with small flapping motions. Go to small circles in both directions, bring your arms forward and back, then above your head and back down. Finally, alternate bringing each hand forward.
Side Push-ups: On your knees, put your hands perpendicular to one another, and then on the ground to one side. Put your legs out to the other side. Do push-ups so that your are doing them on one side. Switch sides.

With all of these, you can regulate your effort by going faster or slower, by being more or less explosive. Usually, I'll pick 12-16 of these exercises and split them up into groups of four. I'll do each group once or twice, with each exercise lasting a minute or so. Then take a minute break between groups. You can vary time, or go for a number on each exercise.

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