If you work with a coach or a trainer, you’ve probably heard the term “plyometrics.” Also known as “jump training,” plyometrics are quick, intense resistance exercises that develop power and explosiveness in the muscles.
Mastering the landing is an important part of getting accustomed to these drills. Here are some tips to get you started.
Practice the correct landing position.
This is the key to preventing injury in plyometrics. Place your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed straight ahead. Bend your knees and push your hips back. Keep your back flat and lean forward. Bend your elbows with your hands beside your hips.
This position allows your hips and glutes to absorb the force of your landing. Your knees should not cave. Evenly distribute your weight on your feet from toe to heel. Keep your back flat and your hips and butt back. Incorrect technique will put stress on your knees and other joints and can lead to serious injuries.
Start with a small number of plyometrics landing drills and work your way up.
Three to four sets of five to eight reps (from the ground) before your regular strength training routine should suffice.
Try your landings without jumping at first.
Do them before strength training so your body is not fatigued. You can get injured more easily if your form breaks down when you become tired.
Hold the landing position for at least 10 reps of five seconds before you move on to more intense drills.
Then you can drop from a small box into the landing position.
Work your way up with a slow progression.
As you become confident and are able to complete 10 reps of a 5-second hold, you can progress to a higher box and eventually work up to jumping and landing on the plyobox, then jumping and landing on the ground, and finally dropping from a box and jumping as soon as you land.
When you can do this well, you can progress from box work to jumps from the ground, then to a combo of box-to-ground jumps.
Think about your plyometric program as “less is more.” Focus on quality, not quantity. A good rule for plyometrics: do not do more than 120 jumps per week.
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