Why You Should Add Depth Jumps to Your Workouts

To improve your athletic performance, you must increase your explosive power so your muscles can produce as much force in as little time as possible. This allows you to accelerate into a sprint, jump for a dunk or throw a fastball.

Depth Jumps, an advanced plyometric exercise, will enhance this critical skill.

Depth Jumps involve stepping off an elevated box, landing on the ground and immediately exploding up into a jump. This sequence enhances the stretch-shortening cycle, a process that occurs in your muscles to create power. When you land on the ground, your muscles absorb the force and turn it into elastic energy. Then they go through a transition period, known as amortization, before explosively contracting to propel you into a jump.

VIDEO: Depth Box Jumps With Dwyane Wade

Depth Jumps train this process to become faster and more efficient. The more elastic energy your muscles can store and the faster they convert that energy into a contraction, the faster and more explosively you'll move when playing your sport.

For example, consider a typical cut or change of direction a running back makes during a football game. As he approaches a defender, he quickly slows down, plants on his right leg and explodes to the left, leaving the defender in his tracks. During this play, many muscles in the running back's right leg go through the stretch-shortening cycle. The more force those muscles can produce quickly, the faster and more powerfully he'll be able to move.

Most plyometrics enhance the stretch-shortening cycle, except seated Box Jump, which intentionally removes it from the movement. Depth Jumps are effective at enhancing this process because of the initial drop. Your muscles must absorb the force created by your body weight being pulled down by gravity, creating elastic energy.

One drawback—Depth Jumps are only for advanced athletes with experience in the weight room. The move places a lot of stress on your muscles and joints. If you lack sufficient strength or don't have perfect landing technique, this move could result in an injury.

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When performing Depth Jumps, follow these guidelines.

  • Perform Depth Jumps and its variations only after you master the Depth Drop and Box Jump. Also, you should be able to squat 1.5 times your body weight before attempting the exercise.
  • Start with a 12-inch box and gradually increase the height of the box as you improve.
  • Don't hop off the box. Step off with one foot, then the other.
  • Land softly with both feet on the ground at the same time.
  • Spend as little time as possible with your feet on the ground. If you have difficulty jumping up quickly, you might need to lower the height of the box.
  • Explode up as high as possible into your jump.
  • Perform 3-4 sets of 5 reps, resting 15 seconds between jumps.
  • Choose only one variation of Depth Jumps per workout. Perform it after your dynamic warm-up and before strength work.

Depth Drop

Benefits: Teaches proper landing technique. Your muscles learn how to absorb the force of a landing.

How to: Stand with both feet on a plyo box. Step off the box with one foot, then the other. Land softly with both feet on the ground and your knees and hips bent. Repeat for the specified number of reps.

Depth Jump

Benefits: The foundational Depth Jump, which increases vertical power and jump height.

How to: Stand with both feet on a plyo box. Step off the box with one foot, then the other. Land softly with both feet on the ground and your knees and hips bent. Explosively extend your hips, knees and ankles to jump up as high as possible. Again, land softly on both feet.

Depth Single-Leg Jump 

Benefits: Increases single-leg power and eliminates imbalances on the left and right sides of the body.

How to: Stand with both feet on a plyo box. Step off the box with one foot, then the other. Land softly with both feet on the ground and your knees and hips bent. Using only your right leg, jump as high as possible. Again, land softly with both feet on the ground.

Depth Broad Jump

Benefits: The variation teaches your muscles to put power back into the ground to propel your body forward, similar to how you start sprinting.

How to: Stand with both feet on a plyo box. Step off the box with one foot, then the other. Land softly with both feet on the ground and your knees and hips bent. Explosively extend your hips, knees and ankles to jump forward as far as possible. Again, land softly with both feet on the ground.

RELATED: Test Your Readiness for Depth Jump Plyometrics

 

 

 

Topics: STRETCHING | PLYOMETRICS | BOX JUMP | POWER | ENERGY | FASTER | PLYO BOX