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  • Writer's pictureBaldMarauder

Keep Developing: Simple Development Ideas During Isolation – Part 2

As the need to reimagine athletic development in semi-isolation continues, look at every day as a chance to double down on your intrinsic motivation, discipline, and habit formation! Last article we went through a ton of ground based core exercises that help athletes best transfer power from the ground to output point. Today we will be focusing on the second of our top three areas of opportunity.

Top 3 Athletic Areas of Opportunity:

1) Core Transfer

2) Explosiveness

3) Change of Direction

Efficient Movement Is Key to Maximizing Explosiveness

Athletes, even at a young age, will often be categorized into one of two buckets: light footed or heavy footed. While this non-scientific ruling is a function of the entire system's operations; we will focus on creating the conditions to improve explosiveness by emphasizing proper landing and minimal time on turf.

If we can carry over the core emphasis from last session, the transfer of power through the ground to our desired output will be maximized when we can identify inefficiencies in our system and create opportunities to improve those 'areas of opportunity.' As we go through the following movements pay attention to the following:

1) Maintain a ‘core is a tree trunk’ mentality

2) Landing is just a set up for jumping again

3) Keep your hips loaded - always ready!

Most everything we do for power is based on the hip-hinge. As athletes, we want to load the hips for power transfer as they are the most powerful chain in our system. The first few exercises will reinforce a natural hip hinge. To self-teach – prepare yourself to do a standing two foot broad jump -feet shoulder width, slight knee bend, loaded hips, chest over knees providing a stable center of gravity. This is the position we are trying to emphasize with all ballistic throws and Olympic pulling movements. This position allows for explosive moment in every direction.

Hip Hinge

Med Ball Ballistics: If you don’t have a med ball – just use any sports ball – we are emphasizing movement patterns. Each set will be reinforced with a repetitive single/double leg jumps. At younger ages these are easier to teach than Olympic lifts, and will produce many of the benefits without over-taxing the nervous system.

1) Vertical Toss – Athletic position, med ball overhead. Screw feet into ground and tighten posterior chain. Swing ball down between legs maintain tight core, make hips break first! Throw ball as high as possible by getting triple extension with ankles, knees, and hips. Breath in on the way down, out on the way up. As high as you can!

Three sets x Three Reps + 1 vertical jump (each rep). Quality over quantity – take 60 seconds in between sets to let your nervous system catch up.

2) Linear Toss – This is the same motion as the vertical toss, except now we are mimicking more of a broad jump. This action will really force hips back, and don’t hesitate to jump out of your throw!

Three sets x Three Reps + 1 standing broad jump. Quality over quantity – take 60 seconds in between sets to let your nervous system catch up.

3) Throw From Floor – This is the same movement as the above, but starting with the ball on the floor behind your ankles. This is a non-counter movement throw, meaning you do not get the benefits of a stretch shortening cycle (transition from eccentric to concentric locomotion). Athletic position – push hips back, reach down and grab med ball with both hands. Tighten core, deep breath in, and explode forward, tossing ball as far as possible by getting triple extension with ankles, knees, and hips.

Three sets x Three Reps

Landing/Ground Strike

Ladder/Hurdle Plyos: In place of these you can use cones or a marked line. We are concerned with the landing first so we can maximize force throughout the exercise. These initial jumps are to emphasize landing in a position that will allow you to immediately generate force – we will land with good knee bend, hips loaded, and weight distributed towards the middle/ball of our feet.

1) Single Leg Hops – We are going to going to do counter-movement jumps, meaning every jump will commence from a tall standing position. Jump – land – reset. We will perform 4 jumps per leg forward and 4 jumps with both front and trail foot facing each direction.

2) Double Jumps – these are a precursor to depth jumps which for my money are the best way to maximize eccentric/concentric turnover (landing to jumping again). Depth jumps are taxing, so we want to make sure the patterns are correct before moving forward. Three sets x Four Jumps – take 30-45 seconds in between sets to recover. These can be performed with hurdles or without any apparatus. Emphasizing landing in a position to jump again. Always be ready!

3) Repeat Jumping – one thing that cannot be overlooked when repeat jumping is the arm swing. Arms at a right angle at the elbow – initiate force from the elbow back into jumping position and throw arms violently forward in a tight pattern close to body. I like to think about using my arms to pull my hips through. Imagine the ground is hot coals that you cannot stay on for long. I want you to set the hurdle height or jump distance so that the distances are achievable but will require focused effort.

Three sets x Five Jumps – 30-45 seconds rest in between.


Backyard Fun: Getting Comfortable Generating Force From Uncomfortable Positions

I am a huge proponent of power generation from multiple angles outside the traditional jump or hip hinge pattern. The more comfortable your body is with generating power from multiple angles, the better it is able to deal with stressful positions in live action. Try some of these out if you really want a challenge!

1) Somersault Jumps – no equipment needed, just perform a good somersault and immediately go into a vertical jump. To do so you will need to generate significant force the moment your feet are flat on the ground. Remember your arms!

2) Jump – Shoot – Jump – hurdles make for good cues, but are unnecessary. Jump as high as possible and, upon landing shoot under the hurdle without allowing your hips to touch the floor. Once through the hurdle, immediately into a jumping position and up as high as you can. Repeat for 4 reps!

3) Repeat Stair Jumps – the key is to really challenge yourself with designated amount of stairs. Want to land with thighs about parallel to the floor and immediately jump up to next stair. You will have to use core, arms, and legs to repeat this 4-5 times without stopping!

4) Kettlebell Swings - I put these in the back because most don’t have access to a kettlebell. But if you do, or even have a dumbbell you can use; these are the best! I am a somewhat recent convert of proper kettlebell training after spending 25 years as a hard stop Olympic lifter. If performed properly, kettlebells do an exceptional job of recruiting posterior chain muscle groups in the hip hinge patterns we aim for. KB training also is a great core activator and can generate eccentric overloads for improving the eccentric-to-concentric conversion we have discussed (controlling the lengthening of muscle under load to powerfully shortening muscle during contraction).

Before training, challenge your athletes to perform at least one exercise from every section. Coupled with the core series, they will be in a much better position to transfer power into the ground and realize that power across their entire body. Our last area of opportunity - change of direction - will be available soon. Read more about developing athletes at and hit me with any questions at



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