What types of plyometrics are best for football players?

Football is concerned with explosive pushing power in the lower body and upper body. The ability to explode upwards and outwards will allow you to either tackle a player, or push a player trying to tackle you away from you. Plyometric movements that improve explosive pushing power in the legs, arms, chest and shoulder should be emphasized as well as movements that help your body absorb the forces of being hit. To improve lower body power movements like explosive squat jumps and tuck jumps help improve your ability to explode. Plyometric movements like depth drops or box jumps will help teach your lower body to absorb the forces of impact when you collide with another player. Movements to improve upper body power include movements like plyometric push-ups and seated medicine ball chest pass. These plyometric movements will help you increase pushing power and prepare your body to handle the shock of colliding into another football player. To start add in one day a week of plyometric training and start with one exercise for 3 sets for upper and lower body. Do not increase volume or intensity by more than 5% each week to allow your body to adapt to training.

  Football is a sport that is uses very powerful movements.  From sprinting off the line, to blocking, to breaking tackles, football players must be able to produce great force very quickly.  This makes plyometric training a must for anyone who plays the sport. (See below for a list of performance specific exercises for football.)

  Which position you play will contribute to which plyometric exercises you should focus on in your training, but all football players will want to use plyometrics to become more powerful on the field.  Look at which position you play to decide whether you want lots of chest power and less focus on sprinting speed (Offensive Lineman) or if you will want to be very fast but don’t need as much chest power (receivers) or you may want to be able to juke and change direction very quickly (running back.)  Know your position you will be able to decide what your focuses should be and what you can skimp on.

  In general, all football players will want their whole bodies well conditioned to exercise so each part works well with the whole.  Thus, creating strong muscles with a strong core is a precursor to plyometric training.  You may also want to incorporate maximal strength training with your plyometric training for greater force production.

  Plyometrics for Football:

  Off-the-Line Power: Squat Jumps, Tuck Jumps, Standing Long Jumps, Sprint Starts (from your on-field starting stance.)

  Sprinting Speed: 40 and 100 meter Sprints, Striding, Butt-Kickers, Knee Raises.

  Chest Power: Plyometric Pushups, Medicine Ball Chest Pass, Speed Chest Press. 

  Jumping:  Squat Jumps, Tuck Jumps, Box Jumps.

  Agility (juking, changing direction):  Ice-Skaters, Ladders, 1-In-1-Out Ladders, In-and-Out Cones, Hopping Exercises.  

  Auxiliary Plyometrics: Back: Medicine Ball Chop, Speed Cable Pull-Downs, Speed Cable-Rows;  Core: Medicine Ball Sit-Ups, Medicine Ball Scoop-throws, Medicine Ball Rotating-Chest-Pass.

  Check your Sharecare or HFPN exercise library for examples of the exercises.

  Good luck and have fun!


All plyometrics are beneficial for football players. The key is to progress through the various types of plyometrics effectively throughout the off-season. As the off-season begins, low impact plyometrics like jumping rope, cone hops, and speed ladder drills are excellent exercises to develop a base for absorbing and delivering force. When the athlete begins to incorporate more strength training, more explosive and demanding plyometrics can be added as a part of the daily activities. depth box jumps, box jumps, and lunge jumps are great exercises to implement.  As the athlete improves overall total body strength and explosiveness, then highly demanding plyometrics are an option. Depth drop to squat jump, broad jumps, and other 1-legged jumps  increase power, explosiveness and reaction times. This progression promotes significant increases in explosive power for football and keeps plyometric training safe.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.