What You Need to Know About Plyometrics Training

November 11, 2012 | Brian Lebo

Must See Speed Videos

Want to improve your vertical jump? How about your speed and agility? Add plyometric drills to your strength and conditioning program to quickly increase your explosive power.

How Plyometrics Work

Lifting heavy weights won't help you much on the field if you can't lift them fast. A 400-pound Squat won't help you jump any higher than a teammate who can only squat 200 pounds. You'll run faster and jump higher if you're able to put more force into the ground quicker. (Check out Increase your power with sand plyos.)

Plyometric exercises enable muscles to reach maximum force in the shortest possible time, using something called the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC). The exercises increase the power of subsequent movements by using both the natural elastic components of muscle and tendon, and the stretch reflex.1

The exercises must be quick and powerful movements that follow the pattern below:

  • Eccentric phase: preloads (stretches) the muscle, as when squatting before a jump
  • Amortization (transition) phase: pause between the eccentric and concentric phases, as when transitioning from squat to jump
  • Concentric phase: muscle contracts to produce explosive movement, as when jumping

Types of Plyos

Lower-body plyometrics are appropriate for virtually any athlete in any sport. These drills usually involve hopping and jumping, and include the following:

  • Jumps in Place: Jumping Jacks, Jumping Rope, Squat Jumps and Tuck Jumps
  • Jumps Over Barriers: Hurdles, cones, etc.
  • Multiple Hops and Jumps: Rapidly repeating jumps or hops
  • Bounds: Bounding, Lateral Bounding, Broad Jumps
  • Box Drills: Box Jumps, Lateral Box Jumps, Single-Leg Box Jumps
  • Depth Jumps: Stepping off box and jumping immediately for distance or height (advanced)

Plyometric drills for the upper body are not performed as often as those for the lower body, but they should not be ignored. The upper body needs to be explosive for throwing, swinging and pushing.

Find more plyo exercises in STACK's Plyometrics Exercise Library.

Plyometric Workout Design

Plyo exercises place great stress on muscles, tendons and joints; and too much plyo work can cause injury or inhibit performance. Therefore, it's important to carefully plan your plyo workouts and listen to your body.

Plyometric training sessions can be performed one to three times per week, depending on your sport and the time of year. Base the workouts on the following guidelines:

  • Volume: Beginners, 50-60 reps total / Advanced, 100-120 reps total
  • Recovery: 5-10 seconds for every second of work to allow for full recovery
  • Warm-Up: Perform a full dynamic warm-up before every plyo workout to prevent injury

Safety Considerations

  • Perform plyos only after building an adequate base of strength, speed, and balance
  • Start with simple plyo exercises and progress to more advanced versions
  • The landing surface must be flat and shock-absorbant; grass fields, rubber mats and padded plyo boxes are all good choices
  • Wear supportive, non-slip footwear
  • Always perform plyos in the presence of a qualified strength coach

Source

1 Jared W. Coburn and Moh H. Malek, Eds., NSCA's Essentials of Personal Training. 2nd. Ed., 2011.

Brian Lebo
- Brian Lebo is the owner and director of Athletic Performance Training Center, a strength and conditioning facility in North Royalton, Ohio. He specializes in helping...
Brian Lebo
- Brian Lebo is the owner and director of Athletic Performance Training Center, a strength and conditioning facility in North Royalton, Ohio. He specializes in helping...
Must See
Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,311,998
Why NFL Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson Counts His Blessings Why NFL Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson Counts His Blessings
Views: 7,536,841
NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone
Views: 33,606,291

Featured Videos

Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Views: 1,016,699
A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce Views: 15,631
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 70,354
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,362,676
Paul Rabil's Box Jumps Paul Rabil's Box Jumps
Views: 851,362
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,576,773
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,333,004
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,499,053

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Building Sprint Speed for Soccer Players

Building Sprint Speed for Soccer Players

Why Agility Is Critical for Soccer Players

Why Agility Is Critical for Soccer Players

Todd Durkin's 5 Exercises to Increase Your Agility

Todd Durkin's 5 Exercises to Increase Your Agility

Six-Pack for Speed: 5 Core Exercises That Can Make You Faster

Six-Pack for Speed: 5 Core Exercises That Can Make You Faster

5 Stretches That Can Instantly Make You Faster

5 Stretches That Can Instantly Make You Faster

Feed for Speed: 5 Foods and Supplements That Make You Faster

Feed for Speed: 5 Foods and Supplements That Make You Faster

What Is Fast in Soccer?

What Is Fast in Soccer?

King of the Hill: 5 Hill Run Exercises to Supercharge Your Speed

King of the Hill: 5 Hill Run Exercises to Supercharge Your Speed

Resisted Sprints: Use the Right Weight to Get Faster

Resisted Sprints: Use the Right Weight to Get Faster

Developing Soccer-Specific Speed

Developing Soccer-Specific Speed

NFL RB Zac Stacy Works to Get Faster for the 2015 Season

NFL RB Zac Stacy Works to Get Faster for the 2015 Season

A Linear Speed Progression for Increasing In-Game Speed

A Linear Speed Progression for Increasing In-Game Speed

These 5 Drills Will Increase Your Baseball-Specific Speed

These 5 Drills Will Increase Your Baseball-Specific Speed

5 Movements You Should Be Doing to Gain Football Speed

5 Movements You Should Be Doing to Gain Football Speed

Soccer Players: Get Quick on the Pitch

Soccer Players: Get Quick on the Pitch

Get Even More Out of Your Hill Sprints With These Variations

Get Even More Out of Your Hill Sprints With These Variations

Run Faster and Longer

Run Faster and Longer

3 Ways to Build Sprint Speed (No Sprinting Required)

3 Ways to Build Sprint Speed (No Sprinting Required)

Why Youth Athletes Need to Focus On Strength to Improve Speed

Why Youth Athletes Need to Focus On Strength to Improve Speed

Sprinting Tips from Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Johnson

Sprinting Tips from Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Johnson

3 Acceleration Drills to Get Faster

3 Acceleration Drills to Get Faster

Get Faster with High-Speed Treadmill Training

Get Faster with High-Speed Treadmill Training

Fine-Tuning Soccer Sprint Speed

Fine-Tuning Soccer Sprint Speed

How the Cable Machine Can Help You Get Faster

How the Cable Machine Can Help You Get Faster

Speed Drill of the Day: Get More Explosive with Ankle Hops

Speed Drill of the Day: Get More Explosive with Ankle Hops

YardBarker