If You Want To Jump As High As Possible You Must "Do Plyos"
Plyometric exercises are dynamic movements that require rapid and explosive contraction of the muscular system and rapid neural motor unit recruitment. Most of us have actually participated in plyometric style activity in our younger years.
Remember when as a child you would skip, hop, jump and bound around the playground. These are essentially examples of basic beginner plyometric exercises.
Advanced “Plyos” on the other hand are not for the faint of heart.
They require maximal effort in each repetition in order to derive the many physiological benefits available. In this post I will introduce you to the top plyometric exercises for beginners.
I will also show you exactly how you can take your plyometric training to the next level.
Feature Photo Credit: 24", by Adrian Valenzuela & licensed under CC BY 2.0 (modified from original)
Plyometric exercises can be incorporated into upper body routines by adding exercises such as medicine ball tosses and plyo pushups.
However, most plyometric exercises focus on developing explosiveness in the lower limbs through jump related movements.
Obviously, plyometrics for the legs is our primary focus here at Vertical Jump World.
If you want to learn how to jump higher, burn calories and become a more athletic version of yourself you should definitely start adding plyometric exercises to your weekly routine.
Plyometric Exercises Are Not Only For Elite Athletes
Plyometric exercises are commonly used by elite athletes who want to become more powerful in their specific sporting movements. For example basketball players who want to learn how to dunk a basketball will commonly participate jump training with a large plyometric component.
It is safe to assume that every NBA and NFL athlete would participate in some form of plyometric exercise.
Over recent years we have seen the rapid rise in popularity of plyo's in the mainstream fitness industry. Many popular programs such as p90x now incorporate a plyometric component. The fitness industry has realized the potential of plyo's to help boost muscle power, strength, balance and agility.
Perhaps, the greatest advantage of plyometric exercises, from a fitness industry perspective, is the amount of calories that can be burnt in a single session. The high intensity nature of a plyo session can torch fat fast.
Although we are not concerned with the fat burning potential of plyometrics here at Vertical Jump World, we must admit that this is a nice side effect of plyometric training.
We are more concerned with using plyometric exercises to build explosive legs that can be used as weapons on mass domination on the court, track or field.
NOTE: Every one of the highest quality vertical jump programs on the market have included a plyometric exercise/training component in their proven protocol.
How To Do Plyometric Exercises The Safe Way
Plyometrics place a huge amount of stress and strain on the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints.
Yuri Verkonshansky ,the godfather of plyometrics named this form of training “Shock Training” due to the amount of force absorbed and expelled during the movements.
Shock training targets your type II (fast twitch) muscle fibers, which are the largest, strongest, and most powerful in your body. The shock absorption forces stimulate the physiological system to adapt, turning the participant into a more explosive athlete.
These physiological processes must be replenished in the hours post workout, hence the increased excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) related caloric burn.
Unfortunately these high impact “shock” exercises can also lead to overuse injuries such as stress fractures and tendinitis (commonly of the Patella and Achilles) if not correctly prescribed.
In order to reduce injury risk when beginning a plyometric exercise routine you should always start small. Don’t let your ego get the best of you. Understand your abilities and limitations and be realistic with your goals and expectations.
Initially, keep your sessions short and limit the amount of force that you expose the body to.
Focus on landing safely. Wear comfortable shoes for jumping with excellent support.
Monitor the way your body feels the day after training and slowly titrate greater volume and load from there. Be patient!
If you are significantly overweight be aware that jumping will result in a lot more force dispersed through the joints on landing. Force= Mass X Acceleration, so the heavier you are the greater the landing forces you will be exposed to.
Having a strong base of stability and strength is very important before starting plyos, so be sure to develop a foundation of strength before moving on. Here a a few of the best weight training exercises for a higher vertical jump.
Having a greater level of max strength can also raise the bar of potential performance based results that can be derived from plyometric training.
The stronger you are, the more active motor units you have. If you are strong, adding in plyos will optimize the rate of force production of the targeted muscle fibres.
Plyometrics can be performed anywhere from 1 to 4 days per week. If you are a beginner you are best to stay on the lighter end of the volume spectrum until your body begins to adapt to the high demands of this form of training.
How To Get Started With Plyometric Exercise
The easiest way to start adding plyometric exercises into your daily routine is to add a plyo element to exercises that you are already using. For example, if you are familiar with the squat movement you could deload the bar, or add some light dumbbells and add in some jump squats.
It is important to focus on limiting the time spent on the ground between jumps. This is known as the amortization phase. Challenging this phase of the exercise will help make you more “springy”.
My 5 Favorite Plyometric Exercises For Beginners:
1. Plyo Lunge Jump
2. Depth Jumps
3. Plyometric Jump Squat
Plyometric Success Stories
The creators of the best selling plyometric jump program Vert Shock have created a page featuring some of their customers testimonials. There are some very inspirational vertical jump success stories and videos to read and watch.
Final Thoughts On Plyometric Training
Adding plyometric exercises into your weekly strength and conditioning workout can be an interesting way to shake up your current mundane routine. Over time you will feel more explosive and athletic.
Combining plyos with heavy load, low rep strength training can enhance your ability to jump much higher.
Just remember to gradually add volume and intensity from a modest starting point in order to limit the risk of overuse injuries.
Best Plyometric Jump Training Program
Vert Shock is a proven body-weight only jump training system that utilizes plyometric exercises and "shock training" to help people jump higher and DUNK!
We recently got our hands on a copy and took it for a spin.
Don't forget to check out our collection of posts highlighting a range of other vertical jump training exercises.
Great article, I use most of the tips mentioned there in my training to improve my vertical jump.
Even though I’m 6’8 (203 cm) and simple dunking is not that hard for me, I have always wanted to throw down a windmill, 360 or between the legs dunks but just couldn’t do it because my hang time was simply not there. I tried to find more information online which helped me just a little bit but it still wasn’t enough.
I started seeing significanty better results and added at least 4-5 inches to my vertical jump after I tried Adam Folker’s program and really dedicated almost every day to training. In a few weeks I was able to do a windmill and 360 dunk. I’m still training to perfect the between the legs dunk but I’m sure I’ll get there 🙂
Thanks for sharing your story Miguel. Yes Vert Shock works great for those who put in the effort. Good luck on achieving your between the legs dunk. Let us know when you do!