What are plyometrics?

If you want to jump high, run fast, or go from stop to start a little quicker, then you’ll want to incorporate plyometrics into your training program.

What are plyometric exercises? Simply put: they’re jumping drills. The short, intense movements involved in jumping cause your muscles to exert a high level of force while extensions and landings stretch the muscles. Therefore, plyometrics improve both strength and elasticity. These improvements reduce the risk of injury from rapid muscle movement while strengthening muscles for explosive movements: like jumping over a high jump bar, accelerating from a start line, spiking a volleyball, or dunking a basketball.

Plyometrics are intense exercises, so it’s recommended to ease your way in–maybe even going at less than maximum effort on your first plyometric workout. And it is super-important to loosen muscles up first. Spend some time with a roller and doing dynamic warmups (like a jogging, hip rotations, forward and side leg swings…) before hitting your plyometric routine.

What are some plyometric exercises?

  • Wind sprints
  • Broad or long jumps
  • Jump squats
  • Jumping lunge squats
  • Ninja jumps
  • Tuck jumps
  • Plyometric push-ups (An explosive push-up where you push yourself into the air)
  • Burpees with jump
  • Box jumps
  • Lateral hops
  • Drop jumps and depth jumps
  • You get the idea…

Here’s an example of a workout I’ve used in an attempt to gain more height on my vertical jump (all of these exercises are demonstrated in the above video):

  • 6 x sprints
  • 3 sets x 6 reps depth jumps
  • 3 sets x 6 reps broad jumps
  • 3 sets x 8 reps ninja tuck jumps
  • 3 sets x 10 reps alternating jump lunges
  • 3 sets x 30 reps straight-leg calf jumps

Have fun! Plyometrics remind me of innocent days on the playground–just with a lot more sweat.

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