26 Best Plyometrics Exercises For Football Players

Plyometrics exercises help athletes improve stamina, foot speed, explosive power, core strength, vertical jump, and eccentric and concentric phases which is very essential for football players.

We can simply say plyometric exercises help football players in all-around training and improve their performance level significantly, hence reducing the chances of getting injured.

Plyometrics exercises aren’t only efficient for footballers, but everyday athletes can also use them to improve their athletic performance.

Here’re Some of the Best Plyometrics Exercises

Let’s jump straight to these all-important plyometrics exercises to boost the feet’ speed effectively! In addition, taking some feet pics adds extra fun while doing these exercises. 

1. Jumping Lunges

The 5 BEST Plyometrics for Footballers

Jumping lunges are unilateral power exercises, which means it’s mainly helpful in improving the power of one leg at a time which is very crucial in football, as most of the movements are done off of one leg. This exercise also helps in maintaining the stability of players because every time they land in the lunge position they have to stick to it, hold it then immediately transfer to the next jump.

We’re focusing on the explosive power here coming from the front leg, using it to jump as high as possible.

  1. Get into the lunge position.
  2. Jump as high as possible and switch leg mid-air to land with the opposite foot forward.
  3. Repeat the process. Reps- 15, Sets- 3.

2. Progressive Skater Jump

For progressive skater jump, all you’re going to need is six cones or you can also chalk or marker to draw circles. Now place three cones on either side of you, leaving a gap in the middle which is where you’re going to start your jump.

6 Kinds of Skater Jumps

Check the above video for cones placement.

Start small but keep increasing the space between the cones to jump as far as possible. Skater jumps help to maintain stability in holding position and sticking to it before taking the next jump step.

  1. Stand in the middle and start with your right or left leg.
  2. Use your right leg to the bound outside of the 1st right cone.
  3. From there with the left leg to the bound outside of 1st cone on your left side.
  4. Then with the right leg bound outside of the 2nd cone.
  5. From there the left leg is bound outside of the 3rd cone.
  6. Repeat the process until you reach the outside of 3rd cone on both sides. Following the same steps return in the middle in reverse motion. Reps- 15, Sets- 3.

3. Single-Leg Bounds

In this plyometric exercise, you’re doing single-leg jumps and keep it continuing, trying to jump as high and as far as possible. We’re focusing on the muscle fibers and rate of force production, which ensure how quickly can you land and take off again.

Single Leg Bounds for Speed Training - 3 Step Progression | One Leg Bounding

Perform this action using both your feet simultaneously. It will help to ensure which leg is dominant while strengthening the weaker ones. By recognizing the dominant leg you will be able to focus on the actions it is suitable to perform on the field.

The goal here is to spend as little time as possible on the ground, jumping as high as possible. Reps- 15, Sets- 3.

4. Small to Big Lateral Bounds

For this plyometric exercise, you need two cones or two drawn small-size circles about two to two and a half big steps apart.

Lateral Bounds ‘Lateral Jumps’ | Lateral Power & Agility Training

We’re focusing here on absorbing and producing forces as quickly as possible which ensures how quickly can you get into another series of jumps after the big jump. Here, you’re not sticking the landing in any jump, you’re transiting to the next jump as quickly as possible.

  1. Start on the inside of either cone.
  2. Using your right leg laterally bound the outside of the right cone and then bound the inside of the cone.
  3. Use your left leg to laterally bound inside of the left cone and then outside of the left cone.
  4. Keep continuing the 2nd & 3rd steps. Reps- 15, Sets- 3.

5. Plyo Box Plyometrics Exercises

plyometrics exercises
Photo Courtesy: Gabin Vallet, Unsplash

Plyo-Box1 jump plyometrics exercises are great to improve sprint speed, and stamina, generating explosive power which helps players to go from the eccentric phase to the concentric phase, the high jump. Although using Plyo box plyometric moves you can perform the full-body workout, it helps essentially in strengthening lower body muscles.

While performing these Plyo box jumps, maintaining proper form, and posture is very important. Always keep your posture & stance straight and tall, chin higher, feet shoulder-width apart, and feet flat on the ground. Also, don’t forget to warm up before performing box jumps.

Here are some important Plyo box plyometrics exercises you shouldn’t miss:

5.1 Basic Box Jump

  1. Stand one step away from the Plyo box.
  2. Lower down in a squat position, keeping feet shoulder-width apart, arms behind.
  3. Explode off the ground using your entire body by swinging your arms forward to land softly on the box.
  4. Hop back to the ground and repeat the process.

5.2 Lateral Box Shuffle

  1. Stand facing away from the box of shin-length.
  2. Put your left foot on the box and your right foot on the ground six inches away from the box.
  3. Lowering into the squat position lift your right foot off the ground and simultaneously put your left foot on the ground on the opposite side of the box.
  4. Repeat the process and perform 20 reps of 3 sets. You can increase the reps if you’re capable to perform more.

5.3 Depth Box Jump

  1. Stand at the edge of a 12-18 inches Plyo box.
  2. Land in the quarter squat position after stepping off the box and holding it.
  3. Push into the ground with excessive force and explode off the ground extending your arms overhead and landing softly back on the ground. Start with 10 reps of 3 sets and increase per your requirement.

5.4 Push-Up Box Jump

  1. Place your hands shoulder-width apart.
  2. Take the inclined plank position.
  3. Putting pressure on your triceps lowers your chest to the box, Go back up in the inclined push-up position, and repeat the whole procedure. Reps: 20, Sets: 3-4

6. Speed Ladder Plyometrics Exercises

15 Fast Footwork Exercises | Increase Your Foot Speed With These Speed Ladder Drills

Through the speed ladder plyometrics exercises, you’re learning how to get coordination between your legs and arms movements. If you’re playing football/soccer you always need to stay light, fast, and coordinated on your feet. That’s where the speed ladder comes to help.

You don’t need any special equipment for these plyometrics exercises. If you don’t have a ladder or cones, you can draw them on the ground.

So here are 15-speed ladder plyometrics exercises to keep you light, fast, and balanced on your foot:

6.1 Two-Foot Forward

It is the simplest drill among the 15-speed ladder plyometrics exercises we’re going to jump outward. You’re just putting two feet in each square, moving nice and quickly through the ladder driving those arms in coordination with your feet’ movements. So as your right foot moves, your left arm should be driving and vice-versa.

The most important here is to stay on your toes throughout the entire session, your heels shouldn’t touch the ground. Stay fast, light, and coordinated through the whole rep.

Reps – 3-4

6.2 Two-Foot Sideways

TWO FOOT SIDEWAYS. Agility Ladder Drills

Similar to the 1st one but we’re moving sideways this time. Like the previous one, we’re focusing on arms and leg coordination, staying light and fast on your toes. Try 3-4 laps in 3 reps.

Reps – 3-4

6.3 Icky Shuffle

This plyometric training will take a little bit of your coordination. You’re putting two feet in each square of the ladder but we’re moving diagonally. We’re moving in & out of the ladder so we’re coming to the outside and as you can see, one-foot places down either side.

So, the right foot is placed down to the right side then both feet are placed down to the right side, then both feet come through the ladder and repeat the same on the other side.

Reps – 3-4

6.4 Backward Icky Shuffle

This plyometric 2training is Icky Shuffle in reverse, making it more challenging but very crucial for coordination. Especially for defenders, who have to backpedal when the attacker is dribbling straight at them.

Agility Ladder Work - Icky Shuffle (Backwards) | Demonstration \ Mayhem Fitness

This allows you to stay light on your feet and have good coordination over your feet placements, so you don’t get tangled up or trip over your own feet.

Reps – 3-4

6.5 In & Out

This drill is very simple, we’re jumping in the ladder’s square with both legs and then spread them outside the same square. Performing both actions as fast as possible simultaneously by staying light on the toes.

Reps- 3-4

6.6 Single Leg In & out

Here we’re going in & out of each square once again, but one leg is working at a time in the ladder while the other is keeping up the rhythm outside the square. Go up with one foot but return with the opposite one inside the ladder. Stay light on your toes and keep up the explosive movement.

Reps – 3-4

6.7 Lateral In & Out

Agility Training - Lateral In & Out

Here we’re going in & out of every single square. Both feet are moving forward and backward and also laterally. This workout is not difficult but needs focus and coordination. Don’t forget to stay on your toes and as fast as possible.

Reps – 3-4

6.8 Crossover

This drill is very simple but very effective for footballers as they’re crossing over their feet a lot during the match which requires them to be coordinated.

Here what we’re doing is placing one foot in and the opposite leg comes across the body to land on the next square. This helps players maintain balance while changing direction.

Reps – 3-4

6.9 Foot Exchange

Here we’re moving laterally through the ladder, placing both feet in each grid of the ladder by alternating feet. So as one foot is inside the square while the opposite foot is behind, we’re exchanging one foot for another in each square with explosive movements, staying light on the toes throughout the drill.

Reps- 3-4

6.10 Reverse Crossover

This drill is a tough one, you will need a great deal of coordination for this workout. Here not only do your feet cross over in front of your feet but also come behind.

Reverse crossover tutorial - Learn how to freestyle with PWG #7

It’s a little bit like the icky shuffle drill but this time your foot is coming behind the leg and one foot is going in each square at a time behind the standing leg.

This drill needs a lot more of your focus and coordination. So stay light & fast on your toes maintaining a nice & fast rhythm.

Reps- 3-4

6.11 Hip Twist

This drill is more like the foot exchange drill with more focus on hip twists while exchanging feet. Efficient for defenders as they push the ball from one side to the other while jockeying against attackers.

You need to twist your hip with explosiveness. Don’t forget to stay light and fast on your toes.

Reps- 3-4

6.12 Carioca

During this drill, you’re literally crossing over one leg in front of the other followed by an immediate crossover behind the standing leg as well.

CARIOCA  -  SPEED TRAINING WARM UP

This drill will take a lot of concentration & coordination. Focus on sharp hip rotation & leg movements.

Reps- 3-4

6.13 Two-Footed Hop

This drill is like Icky Shuffle movements but here we’re using both feet together at the same time, like hopping. Stay light & fast on your feet on your toes while hopping in & out of the ladder. In this drill, your arms are driving at the same time as your feet.

Reps- 3-4

6.14 One-Footed Hop

Exact the same as Two Footed Hop but performed on only one leg. Very good for maintaining balance on one leg, so practice the drill using both legs alternatively.

Reps- 3-4

6.15 Two Forward One Back

This drill is like the first drill – two-foot forward, but after doing the forward step, we’re taking one step back, then two forward-one back, and so on through the ladder. This is also a challenging drill that needs focus to concentrate on quick leg movements.

Reps- 3-4

7. Deacceleration Shuttle

5 Essential Speed and Agility Drills | Increase Your Speed and Change of Direction

For cones placement and a clear understanding of the whole process, please check the above video. Cones are kept 5 steps apart, and the distance between the cones forming gates is two steps. This drill is going to work on your sudden acceleration & deceleration motion. You need to master both if you want to be a really good footballer.

It’s important to cover both directions while going around cones to make sure that you’re favoring the right leg & left leg equally to maintain balance.

Your ability to suddenly stop & accelerate with or without the ball helps you lose your defender very easily. And if you’re defending, this drill help to keep up with the attacker who is very abrupt in his/her movements.

  1. Start at the gate, maintaining a low center of gravity drive up to the 1st cone.
  2. Going around it drive up to the 2nd cone, and going around it drive straight through the final gate.
  3. Follow the same path while returning but go around the cones in the opposite direction. Reps- 5-6.

8. Shuttle

For cones placement please check the above video. We’re using the exact course as a deceleration shuffle but we’re removing both middle cones and forming one more gate seven and a half steps away from the 1st gate.

This drill works on your 180-degree turn. While your team will be on the attack, you will be driving up the pitch and suddenly you’ll turn the ball over and will need to get back as quickly and defensively as possible. During the turn, this 180-degree turn & acceleration will help take you to take a nice and sharp turn and quick acceleration.

  1. Start from the 1st gate of your choosing, keeping nice and low, maintaining a low center of gravity, and accelerate up to the 2nd gate.
  2. Turn 180 degrees and accelerate back to the 1st gate.
  3. From there accelerate right to the 3rd gate, and take a 180-degree turn to accelerate back to the 1st gate.
  4. From there accelerate right through the 3rd gate. Reps- 5-6.

9. Lateral Shuffle

How To Do a Lateral Shuffle

For cones placement please check the above video. The distance between cones is 4 steps.

  1. Starting from either end, drive up to the 2nd cone.
  2. Lowering your center gravity move laterally to the 3rd cone.
  3. From there drive straight to the 4th cone, again move laterally to the 5th cone, then drive straight through the final cone.
  4. Follow the same path while going back to the starting point to get an even amount of work on the both left leg & right leg. Reps- 5-6.

10. Crosshairs

For cones placement please check the above video. They’re 5 steps apart from each other.

You will understand these more clearly through the above-provided video. Perform this drill by taking turns in both clockwise & anti-clockwise directions to maintain balance and strengthen your both legs. Stay light on your feet to push the ground away so you can be nice and explosive.

  1. Start from any end, with a nice & low center gravity drive straight to the middle cone.
  2. Turn 90 degrees on your right side to drive to the 2nd cone on your right.
  3. Take a 90-degree turn from the 2nd cone to return to the middle cone, taking a 90-degree turn go straight to the cone in your front.
  4. From their return back to the middle cone, then from there straight to the last cone. Reps- 5-6

11. Diagonal Square

plyometrics exercises
Photo Courtesy: Manila

For cones placement please check the above video. The distance between the cones is 9 to 10 steps.

  1. Start from any of the four ends, drive to the middle cone, go around it drive to any outer cone.
  2. Come back to the middle cone then again drive to another outer cone.
  3. Repeating the same steps return to the starting point. Perform this drill by turning around the cones on your both left and right sides to maintain balance on both your right and left leg. Reps- 5-6

Conclusion

In the above-mentioned plyometrics exercises, we have covered all important and basic drills which will help lessen players’ field injury considerably, help maintain balance & strengthen both legs and speed up their footwork and other various important movements that players perform on the field.

But don’t forget to consult a personal trainer for full-on preparation for the game as they will help you master all game-specific skills & movements.

Along with these plyometrics exercises make sure to acquire healthy habits like eating healthy and fixed 7 to 8 hours of sleep. To maintain and improve your physical performance & general fitness you will need year-round everyday practice.

Also read: Top Benefits of Heel Touches

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  1. Damasco, Claudio, and Gianpiero Greco. “Effects of 10-week in-season plyometric training program on agility performance in male amateur footballers.” European Journal of Fitness, Nutrition and Sport Medicine Studies 1.1 (2020). ↩︎
  2. Sole, Christopher J., Christopher R. Bellon, and George K. Beckham. “Plyometric training.” Advanced strength and conditioning. Routledge, 2022. 307-327. ↩︎

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