Rudd van Nilsteroy used to do some power exercises with his physio before he came to Manchester United. When he came to the club he showed me the exercises which I continued to use. Rudd was a big believer in one foot explosive movement for power and one of the exercises he did, I realised early on, would be very important.
I used this with the youth team and it was very good for their power development, and I have used it ever since with very many variations to suit many different situations.The exercise itself was fairly simple. It would begin with one foot on a low box and the other on the floor.
Using the foot on the box, he would drive himself upwards with as much power as he had as high as he could go, but, at the same time, he would use the foot on the floor to jump in a certain direction. The direction he would move, forward, backward, sideways would be varied each time. This exercise he then repeated with the opposite foot on the box and the other foot on the floor.
Ronaldo took training to a whole new level including this exercise, which we expanded and improved on, to suit his development.
When he had arrived at the club, Ronaldo was very young and underdeveloped, strength and powerwise. He was always looking for ways to improve both mentally and physically. He always took an interest in what training I did with other players, always looking for anything that he could use for his own personal development.
After seeing this exercise with Rudd, he wanted to use it, but in a new form. We redevelop the exercise to add some extra elements to it, which we then refined until Ronaldo was happy with it.
In this version, again he would stand with one foot on the box the other foot on the floor, but he would also hold a five KG medicine ball in the hand on the same side as the foot on the floor. He would then proceed to do three hops on the foot on the box. Then, while I stood behind him, I would do a quick succession of three claps. On each clap he would jump as high as he could, but, on the third clap, he would also after the jump, drop the medicine ball and then sprint across the gym floor as fast as he could for 15 metres.
This exercise we would then repeat on the opposite side reversing the foot on the box and the hand holding the medicine ball. Again it would be hop, hop, hop, clap – jump, clap – jump, clap – jump, drop medicine ball – Sprint.
This is an example of how we would continually develop, change and expand exercises that would make Ronaldo into the top world-class player he became.