Two-footed ankle hops
Phase 1 Stand straight up with your feet together and your arms by your sides. Hop upwards and slightly forwards using only your calf muscles, emphasising a full range of vertical movement. Hop forwards for five metres. Complete three sets in total, moving up to a maximum of six sets as you improve.
Phase 2 Place small hurdles 30cm apart over the five metres. Hop as you did before, but this time focus as much on the precision of your foot placement between the hurdles as on the powerful upward motion.
Phase 3 Keep the hurdles set up as above but start the process by dropping from a small height – a box or step set just below knee-height. This creates an even more dynamic stretch on the first hop.
Split squat jumps
Phase 1 This works on single-leg explosiveness. Start in a split squat position – one leg in front of the other and the back knee close to the ground without touching it. Jump as high as you can, propelling yourself forward. Cycle legs in the air, then land with your other leg forward. Cover 10 metres, for three sets, progressing to a maximum of six.
Phase 2 Add a weighted vest. Most gyms now have a couple of these for free use (or they can be purchased) to take weight exercises to a more advanced level without the bulk of lifting free-weights.
Phase 3 Drop from a box or step set at knee height on the first jump to emphasise the first stretch. Spilt squats mimic the single-leg motion of running, so use your opposite arm to generate upward momentum.
Phase 1 Bound forward as far as possible with one leg, then move straight into the next bound with the other leg. Concentrate on creating a constant rhythm, rather than pausing unnecessarily between steps. Bound forward five times and repeat for three sets.
Phase 2 Build up to six sets of 10 reps. This is similar to the split squats drill, except you should be striving to cover as much horizontal distance as possible on each and every bound forward.
Phase 3 Add a weighted vest. Ten bounds with added weight is a test of power and endurance. It is vital that you maintain form with a straight back and with your knee over the foot to avoid risking injury. Look to point your foot slightly inwards rather than splaying out.
Single leg triple jump
Phase 1 This is a cross between split squats and bounding. Cover as much distance as possible in three consecutive jumps on one leg, then repeat with the other leg. That’s one set. Do a total of three sets of two reps, one on each leg.
Phase 2 Add a weighted vest. The reps and sets are low for a reason: this exercise is an extremely stressful one, and although that provides more muscle development in a shorter space of time, it is vital that you focus on the quality of the movement, not the quantity.
Phase 3 Drop from a small height, again, knee-height or lower. The idea is to enhance that first stretch, not lose all your forward momentum into the ground as you drop. If you struggle to move forward off the drop, then decrease the height.