Learning to take off and land a jump with plyometric drills can help prevent ACL injuries, especially in female athletes. Jump training teaches you to focus on proper positioning of your body—hips back, knees tracking over the feet, heels to the ground and the feet positioned hip-width apart—as well as how to control your body when you land. (Most ACL tears occur in the landing position.)
Start with basic drills using single-response jumps like Squat Jumps, Broad Jumps and Tuck Jumps, then progress to the same drills with multiple response jumps—where you do all the reps one right after another without resetting. This trains your body to be in the proper position to go into the next jump.
Here’s a sample program:
- Single Response Jumps
- Squat Jumps – 3×6, rest 90 seconds after each set
- Broad Jumps – 3×6, rest 90 seconds after each set
- Tuck Jumps – 3×6, rest 90 seconds after each set
- Multiple Response Jumps
- Squat Jumps – 4×4, rest 90 seconds after each set
- Broad Jumps – 4×4, rest 90 seconds after each set
- Tuck Jumps – 4×4, rest 90 seconds after each set
Once you’ve mastered this, you can perform these same drills on one leg to develop more strength and stability in your lower body. You can also use tools like jump boxes and the VertiMax for these drills. If you use a box, start on top and drop down, focusing on a good landing with your hips back and your knees in line with your feet. The VertiMax is most commonly used for Resisted Squat Jumps. This places more force on your body and requires you to control the added force.
Sets/Reps: 4×4 with a 90- to 120-second rest between sets.
Below is a video that demonstrates all the types of plyometrics detailed above.
[youtube video=”S-ph99hrAJw” /]
Always use caution when progressing to more advanced drills and be mindful of the correct technique.