Most speed-power athletes incorporate some sort of bounding / jumping routine into their conditioning program. However, it is our observation that a majority of them are either not aware that there is Upper Body Plyometrics, and / or choose not to employ them. We believe this is a grave error in judgement, as the employment of such exercises can greatly benefit most athletes. But first we must establish some guidelines. The athlete should be able to bench press his/her body weight for 5 reps in order to partake in high velocity upper body plyometrics. Below this level of base strength, the athlete should seek out lesser aggressive methods.
We know that arm speed contributes greatly to overall body speed when sprinting and jumping. Research has also demonstrated that greater upper body explosiveness can enhance momentum to assist the body in overcoming inertia (the resistance to acceleration) when sprinting or jumping.
Throwers can also benefit from incorporating upper body plyometrics as well, since having more powerful muscles in the upper body could lead to greater release velocities, providing their throwing mechanics are adequate.
Here are but a few examples of Upper Body plyometrics in order of difficulty (Note: Remember, as with all Plyometrics “Less is Actually More” & on a side note, make sure you DO NOT PERFORM ANY PLYOMETRICS ON HARD SURFACES SUCH AS CONCRETE – YOU WILL GIVE IN BEFORE THE CONCRETE WILL!!! THEREFORE USE A GYM MAT OR SOME SORT OF RUBBERIZED SURFACE. AS AN ADDITIONAL CAUTIONARY NOTE, our advice is that you employ plyo’s at the beginning of the workout as well as make sure you warm-up appropriately, and possess above average upper body strength. DO NOT PERFORM ANY PLYOMETRIC EXERCISE IF YOU ARE INJURED. Please do seek the advice of a qualified conditioning coach and your Medical Doctor before you try anything.):
1) Medicine Ball Toss
2) Medicine Ball Catch
3) Drop Jump Push-up off 2 to 6 inch boxes
4) 1 Clap Push-up
5) 2 to 3 Clap Push-ups
6) Low Box (< 6 inch) Reactive Push-up
7) Multiple Low Box (< 6 inch) Reactive Push-ups
8) Partner Assisted Ballistic Landing Push-up
9) Partner Assisted Ballistic Landing Push-up with Recoil