Improve Your Explosiveness With a Plyo Warm-Up

A new study found that performing plyometrics in a warm-up may actually improve sports performance.

Plyos are typically used to build explosive power and speed. They're typically some form of jumping exercise performed with max effort and full recovery between sets.

However, a new study found that performing plyos in a warm-up may actually improve your sports performance.

Participants in the study performed a standard warm-up that involved either Drop Jumps (plyometric protocol) or a low-paced walk (controlled protocol).

The study found that the plyometric protocol was able to significantly increase peak twitch torque, rate of force development and impulse. The results suggested that plyometric warm-ups enhance the muscles' force-generating capacity.

This is consistent with other research showing that athletes can enhance performance with sport-specific plyometric warm-ups. A study was conducted on track and field athletes assessing their performance on 20-meter and 40-meter sprints after performing a plyometric warm-up. The plyometric exercise involved Plate Jumps weighing between 12.8-16.6% of the athletes' body weight. The study showed an improvement in the groups performing Plate Jumps in the form of decreased sprint times for both the 20- and 40-meter sprints.

Fortunately, putting plyos to use in your warm-ups is incredibly easy. Here are the essential guidelines that you need to follow.

  1. Choose sport-specific plyometric warm-ups that most closely recreate movements that would likely be used in competition. For instance, basketball and volleyball players would benefit from warm-ups that focus on the vertical jump.
  2. Have an understanding and experience of each warm-up exercise chosen. Experimentation with new plyometric movements prior to competition isn't a wise choice. Develop a familiarization with the exercises you'll choose to use in your pre-competition warm-up.
  3. Because these exercises are explosive and intense, perform a low volume of reps and sets to do just enough to cause stimulation. A good example is 3 sets of 3-4 reps.

Here's an example full-body plyo warm-up. This should be done after mobility and activation exercises typically found in standard dynamic warm-up.

  • Depth Jump
  • Lateral Box Jump
  • Single-Leg Long Jumps
  • Medicine Ball Chest Drop
  • Resistance Band Explosive Rows