What Makes a Good Plyometric Workout?
Plyometric training is a great addition to any strength and conditioning program. However, to create a good plyometric workout, you need to address three areas—structure, safety and synergy.
Plyo Workout Structure
To be useful, every program needs to start with some sort of measurement. When beginning a good plyometric workout, certain tests like the vertical jump test and standing long jump will help you establish a baseline so you can track and document your progress.
After the testing, you need to take a progressive approach when choosing exercises. Start with smaller heights and distances and work your way up to more difficult and complex drills. This progression allows your body to adapt to the changes and continue gaining power and strength. Have a plan and follow it. Trust me, it works.
Plyo Workout Safety
Nobody gets better while they're injured. Often the difference between getting hurt or not is common sense. The evaluation process is a good way to understand your limits and decide where to start with many of the plyometric exercises. Building an adequate strength base is the first step to safe and effective training. Training beyond yourself and taking unnecessary risks with elaborate drills is a one-way ticket to rehab. Master the basics and do the simple things well before moving on to more advanced work. (See Building a Safe Plyometric Progression.)
Plyo Workout Synergy
When choosing plyometric drills and exercises, the concept of transfer to the field of play is a big factor. You could do a variety of drills, but which ones will benefit you the most in your sport? Consider the movements your sport requires and the directions you most commonly move in. For example, volleyball is a vertically dominant sport. When choosing drills for volleyball, go with more vertical movements and exercises. You should see increases in your vertical jump and other transfers to the court. On the other hand, players of most field sports (football, soccer, baseball, etc.) move in the horizontal plane. Thus, they should emphasize plyometric drills that involve linear and lateral movements.