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Lateral plyometric jumps are advanced exercises that can be used to develop power and agility. The vast majority of athletes perform workouts and exercises that focus on forward motion, but it’s also important for athletes to include exercises that target powerful, and stable, lateral motion exercises as well.
If you play a sport that incorporates any sort of side-to-side movements, practicing these moves during training is crucial.
Lateral movements not only improve strength, stability and coordination, they also help reduce the risk of injuries by enhancing balance and proprioception through the whole body.
They improve overall hip, knee and ankle joint stability. Lateral drills also help build more balanced strength in the muscles of the lower body, including the hip abductors and adductors.
These lateral drills will improve sports performance, and reduce the risk for sports injuries, particularly for athletes who frequently, or abruptly, change direction, cut or pivot. Athletes who benefit the most from side-to-side agility drills are those who play field and court sports (soccer, basketball, football, rugby and tennis), as well as skiers, skaters, gymnasts, and even rock climbers.
Athletes need to maintain power, control and balance during fast side-to-side lateral motion and transitions.
In general, an athlete can generate power in two ways: (1) using his own body weight, or (2) pushing or throwing something heavy.
Plyometric movements are one of the easiest and most effective ways for athletes to generate and increase power. The lateral plyometric jump is one exercise that primarily uses an athlete’s body weight to generate power.
Before doing the lateral plyometric jumps, a good place for athletes to begin building lower body power is by doing simple agility drills (such as ladder drills and dot drills) then slowly build up to tuck jumps. Other good additions to the plyometric routine include: all-out sprints, stair running/bounding, and burpees.
Core training is a very important aspect of an exercise routine for athletes. When incorporated into a proper workout routine it will help improve neuromuscular control and hopefully reduce injuries. The trunk of the body is considered the core and is comprised of the abdominal muscles, back muscles, pelvic floor muscles and the diaphragm. The core is the basis for all functional movements in sports, and is crucial for everything from cutting, to pivoting, to throwing, etc. Its main purposes are to allow for balance & stability, absorbing force and for the transfer of force/energy to the extremities. The transfer of force/energy affords the athlete the ability to generate additional power with various athletic activities such as a golf swing or a punch.
Incorporating proper technique and core training into a routine will facilitate improved neuromuscular athletic movement patterns which can help with maintaining correct alignment and stability of the spine and pelvis while performing an athletic activity. It will also help the athlete become more efficient with the execution of movements. The strength or weakness of the core will determine the athlete’s ability to move and generate power efficiently while participating in sport. Having good core strength, stability, and efficient dynamic neuromuscular control will facilitate the opportunity for improved sports performance.
By definition, a full squat is just below parallel, where the hip joint is lower than the knee joint. At the bottom of the squat, if you were to put a marble on your thigh, it should roll down towards your hip — not your knee.
In actuality, most people perform half squats or quarter squats (referring to the range of motion) for various reasons. Some can’t due to mobility issues, while others simply resist because they claim squatting to full depth is “bad for your knees and back.”
Fortunately, we can look to science — specifically a recent study published in the journal Sports Medicine1 — for a definitive ruling on the squat depth debate.
Researchers essentially did a review of all current literature on knee and back health, as it pertains to squat depth at various loads. The researchers reviewed a total of 164 articles and found some very interesting data. Not only are full depth squats not dangerous, they actually cause less stress on your knee joint and spine. “When compared with half and quarter squats, in the deep squat [less] knee joint and spinal joint stress can be expected.”
“Not only are full depth squats not dangerous, they actually cause less stress on your knee joint and spine.”
Noted in Scientific Study —
Supportive tissue (ligaments and tendons) will adapt to increased loads, and concerns about degenerative changes in the knee are unfounded.
At the turning point of a half squat, there is more compressive stress on the knee and a smaller support surface for the quadriceps tendon (when compared with a full squat).
Full squats do not have any negative effect on the stability of knee ligaments.
The spine adapts to squat training by A) increasing bone mineral density, increasing tensile strength of ligaments, and C) strengthening back muscles — this contributes to a protective effect.
When half squatting, a significantly greater load is necessary to create the same training stimulus (when compared to the full squat) — this requires MORE compressive force on the back and knee to produce the same effect.