Plyometric exercises develop muscular power and explosiveness. A plyometric routine features a warm-up period, exercise session and then a cool-down period. For plyometric routines to be effective, each repetition of any exercise needs to be performed as explosively as possible. Juan Carlos Santana of the National Strength and Conditioning Association notes that the focus of a plyometrics routine should be on performing a low number of repetitions that are performed correctly, rather than completing as many repetitions while sacrificing technique.
Plyometrics are extremely stressful to your musculoskeletal system. Your intense workouts break down your muscle fibers, and it’s essential that you allow them an adequate amount of time for recovery and healing. Perform your plyometrics workouts two days per week with two days of rest between. For example, a training schedule of Mondays and Thursdays would be appropriate.
Warm-up and Cool Down
Perform an appropriate warm-up before beginning your plyometrics workout. An appropriate warm-up consists of a general component, which includes five to 10 minutes of a low-intensity cardiovascular activity, such as jumping rope or jogging, and a specific component, which includes five to 10 minutes of higher-intensity activities that mimic what you’ll be doing during the workout. The general component increases your body temperature and blood flow, preparing your muscles for exercise. The specific component should include movements such as body-weight squats, jump squats, lunges and skips.
Perform three sets of eight to 10 repetitions of each exercise. Each repetition should be completed at maximum power and explosiveness. Allow your muscles adequate time between sets and exercises for recovery, which will not only maximize your workout’s effectiveness but also decrease the risk of injury due to fatigue. Allow one to three minutes between sets and three to five minutes between exercises.
Beginning Plyometric Workout
Plyometrics training should begin with more basic exercises to allow for musculoskeletal adaptation before moving onto advanced moves. An appropriate beginning plyometrics workout would consist of ankle jumps, rim jumps and front and lateral cone hops. Ankle jumps include keeping your knees straight and jumping off the balls of your feet as quickly as you can. To perform rim jumps, stand underneath a basketball rim and hop up, reaching toward the rim. Focus on rebounding quickly and minimizing the time your feet are in contact with the ground. Front cone hops include hopping over the top of a small cone and back again repeatedly while trying to jump as quickly as possible. Lateral cone hops are similar but involve jumping side to side over the cone.
Advanced Plyometric Workout
A more advanced plyometrics workout includes tuck jumps, bounds, power skips and single leg hops. For tuck jumps, lower into a quarter squat and then explode into a maximum jump, bringing your knees up to your chest and raising your feet off the ground as high as possible. Lower your legs for landing and then immediately take off again. To perform bounds, stand with feet shoulder-width apart, lower into a quarter squat and then explode into a maximum jump, traveling as far forward as possible. Once you land, load back up and perform the next repetition. Power skips are skips that are done for maximum height. With each skip, drive your knee up to your chest and get up off the ground as high as possible. For single leg hops, repeatedly hop on one leg as far forward as possible.
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- "Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning"; National Strength and Conditioning Association; 2000
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