Plyometric exercise is when you use explosive, fast-acting movements to develop muscular power and improve overall speed. The reason for this is that the soccer player’s plyometric training has allowed him to condense the time his muscles need to apply the maximum amount of force required to get the job done.
To get an idea of how plyometric exercise works, think of your muscles as several slingshots. Learn the skills and gain the confidence to succeed in the game with Coerver Coaching’s Make Your Move DVD system!
This chapter gives commanders and trainers guidance in designing and using exercise circuits. A circuit is a group of stations or areas where specific tasks or exercises are performed.
Circuits are designed to provide exercise to groups of soldiers at intensities which suit each person's fitness level. In a free circuit, there is no set time for staying at each station, and no signal is given to move from one station to the next.
The objective of the circuit and time and equipment available strongly influence the number of stations. If there are 10 stations and 40 soldiers to be trained, the soldiers should be divided into 10 groups of four each. To achieve the desired training effect, soldiers may have to repeat the same circuit several times.
Stations should be arranged in a sequence that allows soldiers some recovery time after exercising at strenuous stations. The designer must consider specific parts of the body and the components of fitness on which soldiers need to concentrate. The circuit designer should list all the exercises or activities that can help meet the objectives. By not exercising the same muscle group twice in a row, each muscle has a chance to recover before it is used in another exercise. The designer should draw a simple sketch that shows the location of each station in the training area. The final step is to lay out the stations which should be numbered and clearly marked by signs or cards.
Calisthenics can be used to help develop coordination, CR and muscular endurance, flexibility, and strength. Although calisthenics have some value when included in a CR circuit or when exercising to music, for the average soldier, calisthenics such as the bend and reach, squat bender, lunger, knee bender, and side-straddle hop can best be used in the warm-up and cool-down periods.
Please note that exercises such as the bend and reach, lunger, and leg spreader, which were once deleted from FM 21-20 because of their potential risk to the exerciser, have been modified and reintroduced in this edition. While injury is always possible in any vigorous physical activity, few calisthenic exercises are really unsafe or dangerous.
Some soldiers complain of shoulder problems resulting from rope climbing, horizontal ladder, wheelbarrow, and crab-walk exercises. Doing safe exercises correctly improves a soldier's fitness with a minimum risk of injury. Do not allow the angle formed by the upper and lower legs to become less than 90 degrees when the legs are bearing weight. Leaders must be aware of the variety of methods they may use to attain their physical training goals. Some large units prefer to use sets of calisthenic exercises as part of their PT sessions. Conditioning drills are intended to supplement muscular strength and endurance training sessions. Leaders can mix the exercises to provide greater intensity, based on the fitness level of the soldiers being trained. The following conditioning drills (Figure 7-4) are arranged according to the phase of training. Performing grass drills can improve CR endurance, help develop muscular endurance and strength, and speed up reaction time. The soldiers should do a warm-up before performing the drills and do a cool-down afterward. As soon as the soldiers are familiar with the drill, they do all the exercises as vigorously and rapidly as possible, and they do each exercise until the next command is given.
When soldiers are starting an exercise program, a 10- to 15-minute workout may be appropriate. Progression with grass drills is made by a gradual increase in the time devoted to the drills. FRONT: The soldier lies prone with elbows bent and palms directly under the shoulders as in the down position of the push up. BACK: The soldier lies flat on his back with his arms extended along his sides and his palms facing down ward. STOP: The soldier assumes the stance of a football lineman with feet spread and staggered.
To assume the FRONT or BACK position from the standing GO or STOP positions, the soldier changes positions vigorously and rapidly. From the FRONT position, push up and support the body on the hands (shoulder-width apart) and feet. From the position of ATTENTION, do half-knee bends with the feet in line and the hands at the sides. From the FRONT position, continue to roll in the direction commanded until another command is given. From the BACK position, raise the legs until the heels are no higher than six inches off the ground. From the position of ATTENTION, start running in place at the GO command by lifting the left foot first. Guerrilla exercises, which can be used to improve agility, CR endurance, muscular endurance, and to some degree muscular strength, combine individual and partner exercises. The instructor decides the duration for each exercise by observing its effect on the soldiers. Soldiers progress by shortening the quick-time marching periods between exercises and by doing all exercises a second time.


Soldiers progress with guerilla exercises by shortening the quick- time marching periods between exercises and by doing all the exercises a second time.
Many soldiers have not had a chance to do the simple skills involved in guerrilla exercises. Take the front-leaning rest position, and move the feet toward the hands in short steps while keeping the knees locked.
Assume a sitting position with the hips off the ground and hands and feet supporting the body's weight. For two-man carries, soldiers are designated as number one (odd-numbered) and number two (even-numbered).
On command, number-two soldier bends at the waist and knees with his hand on his knees and his head up. In case you know Yoga, we suggest that the following a€?asanasa€™ be included in your programme. In other words, it’s an exercise that allows muscles to exert maximum force in the shortest amount of time possible. But if the muscle is lengthened just before it contracts, it will produce more force because it has a high storage of elastic energy. When you pull back a band, you tighten it more and more, and you can feel it itching in your fingers to release rapidly. As seen in the picture above, the agility ladder is a tool that helps you improve your acceleration, lateral speed and change of direction while enhancing balance, rhythm and body control. Jumping with two legs will reduce the impact when landing, and bounding up stairs is helpful to develop both the vertical and forward jump. Typically, you use two feet, especially for higher elevations, but more rigorous sessions can be done with a smaller box and both feet. You can create a circuit around a field by forming several stations where you perform whichever jump you wish.
Obviously it will be difficult to do this if you’re running on stadium stairs, but try to do the rest of your plyometrics on softer surfaces such as grass or dirt fields.
Commanders with a good understanding of the principles of circuit training may apply them to a wide variety of training situations and environments.
The task or exercise selected for each station and the arrangement of the stations is determined by the objective of the circuit. The time is monitored with a stopwatch, and soldiers rotate through the stations on command.
These include the time, number of stations, number of time, number of stations, number of soldiers, number of times the circuit is completed, and sequence of stations. When a fixed circuit is run, the time at each station should always be the same to avoid confusion and help maintain control. A circuit geared for a limited objective (for example, developing lower-body strength) needs as few as six to eight stations.
For example, increasing muscular strength may be the primary objective, while muscular endurance work may be secondary. He can choose from the exercises, calisthenics, conditioning drills, grass drills, and guerrilla drills described in this chapter.
After deciding how many stations to include, the designer must decide how to arrange them. For example, in a strength training circuit, exercisers may follow the pushing motion of a bench press with the pulling motion of the seated row. If some exercises are harder than others, soldiers can alternate hard exercises with easier ones. If the designer wants to include running or jogging a certain distance between stations, he may do this in several ways. The sketch should include the activity and length of time at each station, the number of stations, and all other useful information. Soldiers should work at each station 45 seconds and have 15 seconds to rotate to the next station.
They can help develop coordination, CR and muscular endurance, flexibility, and strength. Nonetheless, some people, because of predisposing conditions or injuries, may find certain exercises less safe than others. These calisthenics are noted, and directions are provided below with respect to the actions and cadence.
The keys to avoiding injury while gaining training benefits are using correct form and intensity.
Also, ballistic (that is, quick-moving) exercises that combine rotation and bending of the spine increase the risk of back injury and should be avoided. These exercises are beneficial when the soldier is fit and he does them in a regular, progressive manner.
For example, if the Monday-Wednesday-Friday (M-W-F) training objective is CR fitness, soldiers can do ability group running at THR with some light calisthenics and stretching.
Use static (slow and sustained) stretching for warming up, cooling down, ballistic (bouncy or jerky) stretching movements.
The unit's Master Fitness Trainer is schooled to provide safe, effective training methods and answer questions about training techniques.
Figure 7-4 shows three calisthenic conditioning drills for both the poorly conditioned and physically fit soldiers. However, they should choose and sequence them to alternate the muscle groups being worked.
These are vigorous drills which, when properly done, exercise all the major muscle groups. Since these drills are extremely strenuous, they should last for short periods (30 to 45 seconds per exercise).
The instructor does all the activities so that he can gauge the intensity of the session. For example, they may be used when only a few minutes are available for exercise or when combined with another activity. The soldier raises his knees high, pumps his arms, and bends forward slightly at the waist.
Move the right arm and left leg up and down; then, move the left arm and right leg up and down.


These drills require soldiers to change their positions quickly and do various basic skills while moving forward. Depending on how vigorously it is done, each exercise should be continued for 20 to 40 seconds. Advance forward as fast as possible by moving the arms and legs forward in a coordinated way.
When the feet are as close to the hands as possible, walk forward on the hands to the front-leaning-rest position. To assume the piggyback position, number-one soldier moves behind his partner, places his hands on his partner's shoulders, and climbs carefully onto his partner's hips. 30 minutes is all that is required and may be done continuously, or jog and walk in between when fatigued.
Alternately swim the length of a pool 10-20 metres, rest at the end for 30 seconds, swim back. Get fit first before playing games such as squash, badminton, tennis, handball, basketball, football etc. Several types of athletes such as basketball players, boxers, and especially soccer players use plyometrics.
Being able to carry out this task in a short amount of time is the key factor here, not your physical strength. After the warm-up, soldiers can start a circuit at any station and still achieve the objective by completing the full circuit. For example, in a circuit for strength training, the same muscle group should not be exercised at consecutive stations. This could be followed by the pushing motion of the overhead press which could be followed by the pulling motion of the lat pull-down.
Poorly-coordinated soldiers, however, will derive the greatest benefit from many of these exercises. If the Tuesday-Thursday (T-Th) objective is muscular endurance and strength, soldiers can benefit from doing partner-resisted exercises followed by a slow run. The drills are designed to be done progressively and are intended to supplement muscular strength and endurance training sessions. Soldiers should do each exercise progressively from 15 to 40 or more repetitions (20 to 60 seconds for timed sets) based on their level of conditioning.
Soldiers should respond to commands as fast as possible and do all movements at top speed. The commands for grass drills are given in rapid succession without the usual preparatory commands.
At the same time, number-one soldier moves toward his partner's left side and leans over his partner's back.
As number-one soldier climbs on, number-two soldier grasps his partner's legs to help support him. This kind of thrust is the same kind that your muscles use when you kick a ball, jump to protect the goal, or perform a bicycle kick.
Circuits can also be designed to concentrate on sports skills, soldiers' common tasks, or any combination of these.
Because soldiers may do incomplete or fewer repetitions than called for to reduce this time, the quality and number of the repetitions done should be monitored. Further, allow from five to seven minutes both before and after running a circuit for warming up and cooling down, respectively. Imagination and field expediency are important elements in developing circuits that hold the interest of soldiers. To ensure balance and regularity in the program, the next week should have muscle endurance and strength development on M-W-F and training for CR endurance on T-Th. They continue to do multiple repetitions of each exercise until the next command is given. To prevent confusion, commands are given sharply to distinguish them from comments or words of encouragement.
At the same time, curl the trunk and head upward while touching the opposite elbow to the elevated knee. Throughout, place the hands under the upper part of the buttocks, and slightly bend the knees to ease pressure on the lower back. Number-one soldier places his arms over his partner's shoulders and crosses his hands over his partner's upper chest. Ordinary cycles are good enough and indoor stationary exercycles may also be used at low resistance for 45 minutes. In addition, circuits can be organized to exercise all the fitness components in a short period of time. Using such exercises for unconditioned soldiers increases the risk of injury and accident. Such a program has variety, develops all the fitness components, and follows the seven principles of exercise while, at the same time, it minimizes injuries caused by overuse.
At the same time, he reaches around his partner's back with his right arm, being careful not to grab his partner's neck or head. Weekend or once a week games must be avoided unless other fitness programmes are done on other days. Put in another way, a bodybuilder with strong legs might easily perform squats with heavy weights but might not jump as far on a standing long jump as a soccer player who has plyometric training. A little imagination can make circuit training an excellent addition to a unit's total physical fitness program. When in position, number-two soldier, with his left hand, reaches between his partner's legs and grasps his left wrist.
As soldiers become better conditioned, exercise periods may be increased to 30 seconds or longer for all three rotations. On the other hand, a conditioned Ranger company may use multiple sets of flutter' kicks with good results.



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