5 Plyometric Exercises for Becoming a Better Football Player

As an NFL Draft prospect, the NFL scouting combine offers you an opportunity to showcase yourself to coaches, managers and scouts. This is a week-long event where athletes perform a series of intense activities to prove their physical fitness and show why they deserve to join the best American football teams.

The NFL scouting combine attracts the absolute best players in the country. Thus, to increase your chances of being drafted, you need to be one of the best all-round players in the field in terms of physical fitness, strength and toughness.

This post details five plyometric exercises that may help boost your draft stock if incorporated into your training arsenal. Plyometrics train your body to exert maximum force in a short time. They develop your vertical jump, muscular strength and speed, translating to better performance in NFL scouting combine drills that involve sprinting, jumping and lifting.

Explosive Split Squats

The explosive split squats are a reliable way of improving athletic performance as they target different elements of physical fitness.

These exercises target a wide range of lower body muscles, although they also engage the core: hamstrings, quads, glutes, calves, hip flexors, adductor Magnus, hip flexors, and soleus.

Competitive athletes commonly use them due to their impact on power production and physical abilities, such as jumping and sprinting. Additionally, players can integrate heavy lifts into explosive split squats to maximize force production resulting in heavier lifts.

How to Do Explosive Split Squats

  1. Start by getting into the split squat setup: Place one foot one stride in front of the other, ensuring that both legs are hip-width apart. Maintain proper foot alignment by keeping the ankle, knee and hip in a straight line pointing forward.

Lower your back foot almost to the floor, ensuring that the hips stay square and both knees are at around 90-degree angles. Lastly, ensure a nice tall posture from the waist to the head. Keep your head straight facing forward, chest out and shoulders back.

  1. From the split squat position, engage your core, arms and glutes to explode upwards, leaving the ground with both feet.
  2. As you lower to the ground, stay in control to ensure a soft landing and return to the basic split squat position. That’s one rep.

Repeat five repetitions per set. You can complete one set on one side and then another on the other or alternate sides between jumps.

Front Box Jump

Front box jumps employ pretty much all lower-body muscles, including your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves. By working on these muscle groups, these exercises will boost vertical power explosiveness, making an NFL combine prospect faster, flexible and incredibly agile.

Doing front box jumps also helps in sharpening endurance, coordination and strength. Collectively, these components will go a long way in improving your overall physical performance.

How to Do Front Box Jumps Correctly

  1. Stand around 6 inches in front of a 50-70 cm plyo box.
  2. Lower yourself down into a quarter squat position by bending your knees slightly. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms out behind you.
  3. Use your entire body (core, arms and feet) to explode up.
  4. Land softly into a stable position on top of the box. Make sure to land on the balls of your feet.
  5. Step down and repeat.
  6. Aim for four repetitions of five reps, resting for a few minutes between sets.

Lateral Box Jumps

Similar to front box jumps, lateral box jumps use your body weight to train different body muscles. With proper form, lateral jumps mainly target your quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes. They offer a full-body workout that enhances lateral agility and lower body strength in addition to developing power.

How to Do Lateral Box Jumps

  1. Start by standing in a comfortable but stable position directly next to a short box. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend your knees into a quarter squat and quickly spring up and to the side, aiming for the top of the box. Use your arms and feet to generate enough clearance over the box.
  3. Land softly on the center of the plyo box. Ensure that you land on the balls of your feet gently to absorb the shock.
  4. Lastly, carefully jump down on the opposite side of the box, reset and repeat.
  5. Continue jumping back and forth for your desired repetitions.

Dot Drill

The dot drill is popular in martial arts and basketball as these two sports demand excellent foot speed, coordination, agility and reaction time. This cardiovascular exercise gets its name from its setup, which involves using a mat with five dots arranged in a 2-1-2 pattern.

If the dot drill floor mat is unavailable, the dot-drill layout can be drawn on the floor using spray, chalk or masking tape. On a 3-by-4-foot space, draw a big dot on each corner and another one in the middle. The layout should look like the five dots on a dice.

How to Do Dot Drill

The dot drill is done in four sequences, each with varying moves:

Sequence 1

  1. Start by standing on dots A and B.
  2. Quick hop-off slightly off the ground to land on dot C with both feet.
  3. Without stopping, jump again and split your feet to land on dots D and E.
  4. Repeat the sequence in reverse and get back to dots A and B. That’s one rep.
  5. Repeat ten times.

Sequence 2

  1. The second sequence follows a similar pattern to the first sequence. However, when you reach the farthest dots, you turn around and continue moving forward instead of backward.
  2. Repeat ten times.

Sequence 3

  1. This sequence involves hopping around the dots on one foot at a time.
  2. Start by standing on one leg in the front left dot.
  3. Hop to the middle dot, then to the far left dot. Next, hop to the far right dot, back to the middle dot, then to the front right dot and lastly, hop back to the front left dot where you started.
  4. That’s one repetition. Repeat ten times.
  5. Rest for a few minutes and repeat on the other foot.

Sequence 4

  1. This sequence follows the same pattern as the third sequence. However, instead of hopping on only one foot, you use both feet close together.
  2. Repeat ten times.

Scissor Jumps

Scissor jumps are another excellent example of plyometric exercises that target your lower-body muscles. With proper form and technique, these drills activate the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, abductors and abdominal muscles.

Scissor jumps are a form of alternating lunge jumps. Their benefits range from developing rebound and elastic strength to building muscular strength. The latter is important for enhancing balance, endurance and coordination.

How to Do Scissor Jumps Effectively

  1. Start by standing in a large stance position: extend your right leg forward and your left foot backward. Bend both legs at the knee so that the rear knee almost touches the floor while the front leg is almost vertical.
  2. Jump as high as possible and switch the position of your legs midair. Bring your right leg backward and the left foot to the front.
  3. Control your landing to ensure that you land softly, absorbing the impact through the legs.
  4. As you land, get back to the lunge stance position but with the legs switched positions.
  5. Repeat ten times per set, resting between the sets.
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