Runnergirl Training: July 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Plyometric Program For Sprint Speed

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written by runnergirl training

There are a variety of lower body plyometric exercises and they work best in a efficient progression. Using random plyometric exercises haphazardly can result in being undertrained and causing an injury. See more below!

Plyometrics Overview

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written by runnergirl training

What are plyometrics and how do they fit into a training program? The use of plyometrics has been used according to Ebben (2001), “as one of the primary tools for developing athletic power and speed.”   Plyometrics are defined by Quinn (2008), “involves high-intensity, explosive muscular contractions that invoke the stretch reflex (stretching the muscle before it contracts so that it contracts with greater force).” 

Ebben (2001) stated, “Plyometrics can be thought of as exercises that train the fast muscle fibers and the nerves that activate them, as well as reflexes, and include a variety of hopping, jumping, and bounding movements, which ideally are organized into a cohesive program.”

Like all aspects of training, plyometrics need to be implemented into a balanced program design. This decreases the risk of injury and efficiently utilizes them to reach training goals. A challenge with plyometrics is according to Ebben (2001), “choosing the correct exercises and progression of intensity.”

The golden rule of any conditioning program is specificity. This means that the movement you perform in training should match, as closely as possible, the movements encountered during competition (“Brianmac,” n.d.).

When in a training session should plyometrics be performed? The neuromuscular system is primarily involved in their use, so implementing them at the start of a training session is advised.  Ebben (2001) gave the following guidelines:  

Plyometrics, like other forms of training are usually only performed two or three times a week. Training should occur in a non-fatigued state. Therefore, these exercises should not be performed after resistance training or aerobic conditioning. Ample rest between sets should be used in order to avoid turning these speed and power enhancing exercises into endurance training. As a general rule, rest five to ten times more than it takes you to perform the set of plyometrics. Thus, if you do a set of multiple hops that takes four seconds, you should rest 20 to 40 seconds prior to the next set or exercise.

Suggestions for implementation from (“Brianmac,” n.d.) are:  

A session could begin with exercises that are fast, explosive and designed for developing elastic strength (low hurdle jumps; low drop jumps) work through exercises that develop concentric strength (standing long jump; high hurdle jumps) finish with training for eccentric strength (higher drop jumps).

Now that you are equipped with the knowledge of implementing plyometrics it is time to learn the categories of their classifications.

Ebben (2001) defined the categories as:

Jumps In Place 
These are drills where involving repeated jumps and landing in the same place. Some examples include multiple vertical jumps while reaching an overhead object, squat jump, pike jump, or tuck jump.

Standing Jumps 
These plyometrics can be performed with either a horizontal or vertical emphasis, but typically are performed for one maximal effort. Examples include the single leg jump, maximal vertical jump, standing long jump, or lateral long jump.

Multiple Hops and Jumps 
These drills involve the performance of multiple hops or jumps. Examples would include multiple long jumps or cone hops performed in succession, such as 5 hops in a row.

Box Drills
This type of plyometric is performed using special boxes or other stable elevated surfaces that the exerciser attempts to jump up to. Examples of these drills include box jumps, repeated box jumps, and single leg box jumps.

Depth Jumps 
These drills are also referred to drop jumps and are performed by jumping down from a plyometric box or other elevated surface such as the first row of bleachers. Examples include stepping off the box and landing, stepping off the box and jumping vertically immediately after landing, or stepping off the box, landing, and sprinting.

Landing is an important aspect of plyometrics. Beith (n.d.) advised:

Before landing, dorsiflex the feet by pulling the toes up toward the shin. Be sure to land flat footed. Athletes should not land heels first or land on the balls of their feet so that the heels are off the ground. Practice landing softly. Absorb each landing with the muscles instead of joints and ligaments. This may mean dropping   the hips into a half squat position upon landing. This will allow a soft landing (the feet shouldn't make a loud noise upon contact). Reestablish balance before the next repetition. Athletes should not perform successive repetitions until their center of mass has been stabilized.

Quinn (2008) stated the following safety suggestions:

  • Plyometrics are recommended only for well-conditioned athletes
  • You should have high levels of leg strength prior to performing plyometrics
  • Warm up thoroughly before starting plyometrics
  • Start slowly with small jumps and gradually build up
  • Land softly (see above) to absorb shock
  • Allow plenty of rest between plyometric workouts
  • Stop immediately if you feel any pain in your joints
  • Pay attention to Injury Warning Signs.
  • Use footwear with plenty of cushioning
  • Perform plyometrics on soft or cushioned surfaces only
Training volume in plyometrics is defined by foot contacts (FC). Ebben (2001) stated the following guidelines:

The amount of plyometric training, or volume, which is performed in any given training session is measured by the number of foot contacts. Beginners often perform approximately 80 to 100 foot contacts per session. However, half of that amount may be appropriate, particularly for children, older adults, or those who are untrained. Obviously, exercise intensity is an important consideration as well. Eighty foot contacts of a variety of line hopes, cones, and ankle hopes is dramatically less intense than 80 foot contacts of high box depth jumps, single leg jumps, pike   jumps, and maximal overhead jumps and reaches.

Ebben (2001) suggested the following program design for twice a week:

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
60 FC
80 FC
70 FC
60 FC
50 FC
line hops
line hops
squat jumps
1 x 10
squat jumps
1 x 10
squat jumps
1 x 10
ankle hops
ankle hops
split squat jump
3 x 5
split squat jump
2 x 5
multiple long jump
5 x 3
cone hops
cone hops
multiple cone hops
5 x 3
tuck jump
5 x 1
lateral long jump
5 x 1
squat jumps
squat jumps
lateral long jump
5 x 1
lateral long jump
5 x 1
pike jump
5 x 1
split squat jump
weighted squat jump
10 x 1
weighted squat jump
10 x 1
two leg jump/reach
5 x 1
long jump
5 x 1
box jump
2 x 5
box jump
2 x 5
single leg jump/reach
5 x 1
12 inch depth jumps
18 inch depth jumps
5 x 1

Beith (n.d.) suggested the following program design:

When introducing plyometric training to inexperienced athletes, keep the total number of ground contacts (the number of times the feet land on the ground) between 40 – 60. Gradually progress as technique becomes perfected.

Box Jumps
Begin in a quarter to half squat position. Start off at low heights (12” – 24”) to establish proper form and technique. Jump up onto a box using two feet. Upon landing, if the hips drop lower than the original starting position, the box is likely too high for the athlete’s current ability. After each repetition, step down off the box.
Begin with 3-4 sets of 5 repetitions.

Linear Hurdle Hops
This drill can be done with cones or mini hurdles. We begin by using 6” mini hurdles and allow athletes to ‘graduate' to the 12” hurdles once they accomplish triple extension, a soft landing, etc.
Line up 6 hurdles approximately 3-4 feet apart. Hop over each hurdle, focusing on all of the elements that were listed in the Coaching cues section. Make sure that athletes have their feet evenly aligned before each jump and that they are applying equal force with each leg. Many inexperienced athletes favor one leg and this can lead to muscle imbalances, compensation and injury.
Begin with 3-4 sets of 6 hurdles.

Lateral Hurdle Hops
Lateral stability is important to develop when developing the power of the complete athlete.
Use the same set up at the Linear Hurdle Hops. The main difference is that the athletes will now be moving laterally. Focus on the same cues as before with extra emphasis being placed on equal force exertion between the left and right leg. Athletes performing this drill have a tendency to push off with one leg instead of using both equally. When performing this drill, make sure that athletes perform an equal number of repetitions moving to the left as moving to the right.
Begin with 2-3 sets of 6 hurdles in each direction.

In conclusion, plyometrics are an effective training tool to improve balance, power, agility, and coordination. With the correct use, program implementation, and safety guidelines they can help an individual reach their training goals.

Beith, P. (n.d.).  Plyometric power. Retrieved from
BrianMac (n.d.).  Plyometrics. Retrieved from
Ebben, W. (2001). Practical guidelines for plyometric intensity. Retrieved from
Quinn, E. (2008). Plyometric exercises – using plyometric exercises to build speed and power. Retrieved from

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What's A Brick Run?

Ever wonder what a brick run is in a training program? Find out here!

Energy Pathways Of Running

Find out the energy pathways used in running.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Product Review: Gatorade Fit Prime 01 - Chews

Have you tried the Gatorade Fit Prime 01 chews? They are similar to other electrolyte chews on the market. They deliver sugar and electrolytes in an easy format for during or post workouts.

I have used them before, during, & following workouts, running, cycling & martial arts. I found them to be easy to eat even when you are in the middle of a workout and may have cotton mouth. They are very useful for when you are exercising for long periods of time & unable to rehydrate without the slogging stomach result of excess fluids.

They tasted great & were a nice fueling option. I recommend them!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Running In The Heat

By Runnergirl Training

Running (walking & cycling) in the heat  are activities that most exercise inclined individuals find themselves performing  in the summer. The temperature climbs while exercise hold tightly onto their sometimes too rigid fitness goals. Wise decisions to change time of day and switching to indoor workouts can literally be health and lifesavers.

Latter (2011) illustrated the dichotomy of hydration in the heat, “Drink as many fluids as you can in a marathon….Drink too much water and you could die of hyponatremia.”  
“Of all the adversities that runners and marathoners face, heat is the number one offender. This is because it can bring on two conditions that can negatively affect your performance… Overheating and Dehydration” stated Solkin (n.d.).

Hanc (2011) shared, “"Heat can kill you," says William O. Roberts, M.D., medical director for the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in St. Paul, Minnesota.” Solkin (n.d.) shared, “Dehydration is the process of losing fluid from the body, in this case through sweat. As you sweat you lose water and electrolytes. That's why drinking a sports drink containing electrolytes, as well as water, is so important.”

Hanc (2011) stated, “Running in sauna-like conditions can throw your internal equilibrium seriously out  of whack. The body normally cools itself by moving blood—which is mostly water—to sweat glands in the skin, says Douglas Casa, Ph.D., A.T.C., COO of the University of Connecticut's Korey Stringer Institute. The glands create sweat droplets that carry heat to the surface of the skin, where it evaporates. "The droplets of sweat are like little containers for the heat," Casa says. When you continue to run, your organs and working muscles compete for a limited blood supply, which compromises this cooling system. Humidity compounds the problem, by hindering the evaporation of sweat, making it harder to cool yourself. And runners performing           intense exercise in hot weather tend to become dehydrated, says Casa. "With less water in the body, you have less blood plasma volume—the liquid portion of your blood—to serve all your needs." Once your body temperature climbs to 104 degrees, you're in the heatstroke danger zone. Continued hard running at this temperature can overwhelm your cardiovascular system. Hit 105 degrees for 30 minutes or more and your body may start to cook from the inside out. The hyperthermia can weaken the heart, cause the kidneys and the liver to shut down, and cause cell damage. Exertional heatstroke has arrived.”

With those serious implications, how does one know the best options for surviving the summer months without determent inflicted onto their fitness level or health?

Hanc (2011) suggested to slow the pace,  reduce the miles, opt for short races.  Long term health damage is not worth attempting to prove super human abilities to beat the heat. Make wise decisions to be able to continue running for many summers in the future.

Hanc, J. (2011). The heat is on. Retrieved from,7120,s6-238-267--14027-5-1X2X3X4X5-6,00.html

Latter, P. (2011). Myths about running in heat. Retrieved from

Solkin (n.d.).  Running in the heat; respect your body, respect the heat. Retrieved from

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Visual Guide To High Blood Pressure

What is high blood pressure? What does it look like inside the body? Check out this visual guide of high blood pressure by WebMD here.

Exercise Dependence

exercise dependance over exercise eating disorders can't stop

Written By Runnergirl Training

Exercise is beneficial for a variety of reasons.  Like anything else, exercise is the most beneficial when in moderation and balanced. Read more below.

Hydration From Food

Try these ways to eat your water!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Product Review: Ironman Hydration Belt

written by runnergirl training

There are various options for hydration on the go. There are belts with bottles and bottles with a strap for the wrist. My personal choice is the Ironman hydration belt, pictured above. It contains 2, 10 ounce bottles & a zippered pouch with an outside mesh pocket. It has worked well in training & racing environments. The pouch is large enough for cell phone, keys, energy bar, etc.

I highly recommend this item!

It is sold at these retailers:


Monday, July 4, 2011

Product Review - Gatorade Fit 02 Perform

Gatorade Fit 02 Perform drink is for hydrating during workouts. Check out the nutritional info here. Light taste & not too sweet, with only 2 grams of sugar.

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