Want to Run Faster? Try These 7 Plyometrics Moves


Whether you’re just getting into running, preparing for your first 5K, or attempting a full marathon, you might be wondering how you can get a little faster on your feet. One way: Add plyometrics to your training.

Plyometrics, which are movements where you jump explosively and spend as little time on the ground as possible, have been found to improve running speed and efficiency. “When you run, you need to produce force against the ground as quickly as possible,” says Jason Karp, PhD, a running coach and owner of Run-Fit. “Plyometrics improve your muscle’s ability to produce force quickly.”

What makes plyometrics so unique is their ability to target two kinds of muscle movements: shortening and lengthening. “When you do quick movements where you jump, land, and jump again, your muscles are being asked to lengthen quickly, then shorten quickly, and then lengthen again,” he says. “This combination actually produces more force than if you just did a shortening move or a lengthening move alone.”

Plyometrics can be pretty intense, so Karp recommends starting with some basic movements and building on them each week.

Six-Week Plyometric Exercise Routine for Runners

These moves all target your glutes, quads, calves, and core. Try to spend as little time on the ground as possible between jumps. Do the routine twice each week in addition to any running you’re doing.


Single-Leg Hops

Plyometrics: single-leg hopsStand on left leg. Hop 10 times, then hop forward and back 10 times, then hop side to side (shown here) 10 times. Repeat on right leg, rest, then do one more set.

Step-Up Hops

Plyometrics: stair hopsStand on your left leg in front of a step or small platform. Hop up onto the step and walk down. Stand on right leg and do the same. Repeat 10 times on each leg. Rest, then do one more set.


Same two movements as Week 1.


Same two movements as Week 2, plus:

Double Leg Bound

Plyometrics: Double-leg boundStart in a squat position, then jump forward with both legs as far as you can. Repeat 10 times. Rest, then do one more set.

Alternate Leg Bound

This move looks like an exaggerated running motion, but you’re bounding forward as far as you can from one leg to the other (not pictured; it will look like a combination of running and jumping). Repeat 10 times on each leg. Rest, then do one more set.


Same four movements as Week 3, plus:

Squat Jumps

Plyometrics: Squat jumpsWith hands on hips the entire time, squat down, then jump straight up as high as you can. When you land, lower back down into a squat position smoothly, then immediately jump again. Repeat 10 times. Rest, then do one more set.


Same five movements as Week 4, plus:

Depth Jumps

Plyometrics: Depth JumpsStand on a one-foot tall box. Jump onto the ground with both feet and land in a squat. then jump straight up as high as you can. Step up onto box, repeat 10 times. Rest, then do one more set.

Box Jumps

From the ground, jump up with both feet onto a box about a foot high, then immediately jump back down to the ground. Do 10 reps. Rest, then do one more set.

Same seven movements as Week 5.

10 Comments   Join the Conversation

10 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Re box jumps — Jumping down from the box may not be good for your achilles tendon and could cause injury — better to step down

  • Hi!

    I read the article by Alice Oglethorpe about plyometrics for running and have a question about how they might affect my left hip replacement operation. Actually, I had a Birmingham hip resurfacing operation which is very similar to hip replacement surgery.

    Not sure if my hip can handle the impact part of this routine. I currently use a rebounder daily to keep my impact at a minimum. Since I am 68 years old, it might not be wise to try this routine, but, I thought I would ask Alice (Go, Ask Alice!) just for grins.

    Thank you,

    Andy Larson

  • I ,m 74 yrs. old .I was active in till I had hip replacement .then had an infection 1& 1/2 year later totally recovered .Became very active in line dancing all over De. Then knee started acting up ,had left knee replacement surgery .Went right back to dancing and helping at senior center. Well now I need left knee
    done also . I can , t do much cause it hurts .Nov.29 I, m having that done .Lord willing I can start again after therapy etc . So I am doing lite
    extercise,leg sterches etc and walking around .That is what I can do for now

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