Although many people are in the post season looking to get into strength cycles, I wanted to share one of my favorite drills for developing leg power and explosive quickness. Many gymnasts I work  do a ton of leg strength and  plyometric based bounding drills (panel mat plyo lines, tuck/split bounces down floor, etc) but may be missing out on specific exercises that focus on rapid rate of force development exclusively for leg power.

Before you dive in, if you are looking for 100s more gymnastics strength exercises and more concepts, be sure to download my free “Gymnastics Strength Guide” ebook here,

The Gymnastics Strength
and Power Guide

  • Methods and exercises for increasing strength and power in gymnasts
  • Explanations on why gymnasts should use both weight lifting and body weight strength
  • Teaches concepts of planning, specific sets or reps, and planning for the competitive year 

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Here is a short video clip on a drill I love, which I originally got from my friend Rupert Egan. It’s called a “Double Box Jump Without Arm Counter Swing”.

Basic Set Up and Instructions,

  1. Set up 3 blocks of different height of appropriate size for the athlete. One to sit on, one as the middle bounding box, and one higher box as a landing zone. Have someone hold the top block for safety
  2. The athlete sits on the first block, and without using their arms for swing will jump as high as possible to the first box, trying to fully extend their hips with glutes engaged, and also cueing them to “touch the ceiling”. Then immediately once they land try to bound and jump from the second to third box. It is okay if they use their arms for the second jump, and their goal is to be on the second box for as little time as possible
  3. Stress proper jumping and landing mechanics with good knee, hip, and trunk positions into a good squat pattern

Why I like This Drill,

  • It forces the athlete to depend solely on their legs to generate power for the first jump, but also has a reactive quickness component in the second jump
  • It theoretically helps promote a concept known as “rate of force development” where the nervous system and can learn to effectively first more motor units at the same time, fire them in more synchrony, and learn to coordinate the kinetic chain
  • It’s a great progression to follow a few strength cycles and transfer the strength gains into more power focused gymnastics situations
  • It is another opportunity to stress proper jumping and landing mechanics to create/dissipate force both from a performance and lower body injury prevention stand point

 

Concluding Thoughts 

This is a more body weight driven drill that I like to use within the season, but there are lots of other exercises that can fit well into this category. Some of these include speed tempo deadlifts, kettlebell jumps from a still position, power clean variations, and so on. It just takes programming over a cycle and good technique to take advantage of them for body weight conditions in gymnastics. Learn the technique then play around with it, that way you can use it later on this summer! Hope this helps,

Dave Tilley DPT, SCS

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