While I was catching my breath on a rest interval during a tempo running workout at my local park yesterday, I gazed up at the hill that surrounded the large grass field I was running on like the sides of a bowl. The hill was about 30m up at an incline of about 30 degrees. I’d probably never have anyone do serious running workouts on a hill like that because the surface was too uneven and the incline too steep to be worthwhile but it made me think that grass hills like this one might make a perfect environment for jumps and plyometrics series progressions over the course of the year.
Early on in the year, you could start at the bottom jump UP the hill. Doing so would provide a good lead-in to more intensive plyometric work, minimize impact (which is closely related to the height one falls from their apex to their landing) at a time of the year when the athlete may not be ready for it, and place an emphasis on concentric strength and power. As the season progressed, you could move to a mix of up hill and flat plyos, then to all plyosmetric exercises performed on the flat, and finally to downhill plyos. The downhill plyos would be extremely intense because the eccentric loading and impact would be incredibly high. They could effectively overload the system in a manner that is fairly difficult to achieve otherwise. And while I’m typically very cautious in doling out plyometric volume due to fear of injury, I think this type of progression could permit a safe lead-in to the very highly intensive plyos that would be great for achieving the extreme eccentric loading that is very important for success in speed-power activities. Thoughts?