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


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
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 4,837,407
RGIII Talks About His Legacy
Views: 25,405,430
Colin Kaepernick Explains His Ridiculous Socks
Views: 27,635,002

Featured Videos

A Day in the Life of NBA D-League Star Seth Curry Views: 68,738
Kevin Love's Cone Hop Basketball Shooting Drill Views: 8,003
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 131,367
Load More


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


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,308,758
What Ryan Hall Eats for Breakfast
Views: 795,255
STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,651
Greg Nixon's Hill Training Program
Views: 705,761
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,561,460

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

The 5 Elements of a Successful Speed Training Program

Previewing the Fastest Draft Prospects of the 2015 NFL Combine

Speed Plyometrics to Help You Run Faster

Skipping Drills: The Missing Link From Your Speed Workouts

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

Improve Your Football 40 Time During the Season

How to Improve Your Basketball Quickness in 5 Minutes

Todd Durkin's 5 Exercises to Increase Your Agility

Run Faster and Longer

4 Powerful Band Agility Drills

The 10 Best Speed Exercises for Athletes

Here's Why Andre Williams' Breakout Performance Was No Fluke

Improve Your Baseball Speed With This On-Field Workout

8 Speed Workout Tips to Get Faster

5 Stretches That Can Instantly Make You Faster

Increase Your Lacrosse Speed With Multi-Directional Exercises

The Off-Season Baseball Speed and Agility Workout Program

5 Weight Room Speed Exercises You're Not Doing

3 Acceleration Drills for a Faster First Step

Ditch the Sprints. Here's How to Build True Sports Speed

The Secret to Tom Brady's Newfound Speed

Build Sprint Speed Like an Olympian

Supreme Speed: 6 Training Tips from Football's Fastest Man

Deceleration: The Missing Link for Hockey Speed Training

Sprinting Technique Errors and How to Fix Them

Improve Your Footwork to Improve Football Agility

3 Ways to Build Sprint Speed (No Sprinting Required)

Linear Speed Drills to Improve Athleticism

12-Week Off-Season Baseball Speed Workout

6 Essential Multi-Directional Speed Drills

How to Build First-Step Quickness for Baseball and Softball

Todd Durkin's 5 Drills for Faster Sprints

3 Biggest Myths About Soccer Speed

Sprint Faster With Speed Demons

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

How to Train for Speed in Cold Weather

4 Speed Training Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

Lengthen Your Stride for Maximum Speed

Acceleration Drills to Increase Speed

Why Youth Athletes Need to Focus On Strength to Improve Speed

3 Simple Steps to Get Quick

How the Cable Machine Can Help You Get Faster