So you want to get more air underneath your shoes, but you’re not sure what exercises you should be doing to increase your vertical jump? Then, you’ve come to the right place. Here, you’ll find all of the information you need to supercharge your workout regimen and get more height out of your jumps through plyometric training.
By coming to Strength Systems, you’ve landed on the premiere source for plyometric training information. Why? Because that’s all we do!
Plyometric Training? What’s That?
Simply, it’s a method of exercising that’s designed to increase the explosiveness of your muscles, their ability to exert the most force possible in the shortest amount of time. You may think that sounds like some fancy marketing gimmick, but it’s not! Plyometric training has been developed by trainers over the past 30 years, and scientific research has validated its efficacy.
A Few Things to Understand About Plyometric Training
- Don’t expect results overnight, as plyometric training typically takes 6 to 8 weeks to generate tangible results.
- Plyometric training is intense; so make sure that you’re pacing yourself appropriately and leaving yourself at least a day of recovery in between training sessions.
- Pay attention to your form. It’s absolutely essential. Proper form is what makes the exercises work, and improper form is what leads to poor results and even injury.
- It’s quality and not quantity. You’re trying to build explosiveness, so focus more on making the exercises count rather than on doing more of them.
As long as you understand these basic principles, you should be ready to begin plyometric training.
How Do I Get Started With Plyometric Training?
You’ll want to prepare yourself for a maximum of 3 training sessions per week, again with at least 1 day of rest between sessions. Like we mentioned earlier, it’s all about quality, so don’t feel as if you need to push yourself to train more often. Rather, make sure you’re focusing on making each of your training sessions count.
Depending upon your level, you’ll want to adjust the duration of these training sessions accordingly:
- Beginner Level: 30 minutes
- Intermediate Level: 25 minutes
- Advanced Level: 30-40 minutes
Adjusting the timing in these ways will greatly increase the effectiveness of the exercises and help you to achieve the improvement in your vertical that you’re looking for.
What Am I Going To Need?
In order to improve your vertical with plyometric training, you’re going to need a few things. Here’s a list:
- Strength Shoes: If you’re not familiar, these are shoes that have a lowered panel underneath the toe. This allows the shoe to transfer your body weight entirely to the calf.
- Strength Stretch Strap: This is just what it sounds like. Using this will allow you to get more out of your stretches and other exercises.
- Ladder: Going up and down that ladder is a surefire way to get all of the necessary muscles involved in the workout!
While not 100% essential, these are some other tools you might find useful for your plyometric workout regimen:
- Jump Boxes
The First Step in Plyometric Training: Stretching
It’s the same as any other workout regimen you can think of: Stretching. By stretching, you’re going to be preparing your muscles for the abuse you’re going to lay on them. This has the benefit of both increasing the effectiveness of your plyometric workout as well as decreasing the likelihood that you’ll injure yourself.
Below, you’ll find some stretches that are great for beginning your plyometric workout. You’ll want to hold each of these stretches for 15-20 seconds. With any of these, consider using a stretch strap, as doing so will greatly increase the effectiveness of the stretch.
Plyometric Stretch #1: Straight Leg Stretch
For this one, you’re going to lie on your back and alternate extending each of your legs up into the air at a 45-degree angle.
Plyometric Stretch #2: Hamstring Stretch
With one leg in and the other out, you’re going to extend your body out to touch the tips of the toes on the leg that’s extended.
Plyometric Stretch #3: Thigh Stretch
You’ve done this one a million times before, so make sure that you’re doing it now!
Plyometric Stretch #4: Lunge Stretch
Stretch your leg muscles by moving into and holding a lunge position. Make sure that you’re keeping your back straight to increase the effectiveness of the stretch.
Motion Warm Ups: The Next Step in Plyometric Training
Now that you’re all limbered up, it’s time to get the blood flowing. With these motion warm ups, you’ll be getting your body into perfect running form prior to beginning the plyometric workout.
You may think that you can skip this step, but don’t. The cardio workout you’ll get through these motion warm ups will greatly increase the effectiveness of the plyometric exercises. If you skip this important step, all of the hard work that you’re about to put in might as well be for naught.
So you’re going to do your motion warm ups, right? Good. While you’re doing them make sure that you’re paying close attention to your mechanics. Just like the plyometric exercises that you’re going to do, it’s about quality and not quantity here.
What Are Some Good Motion Warm Ups for Plyometric Training?
Here’s a list of, and tips for, some motion warm ups that you can take advantage of before beginning your plyometric exercises:
- Walking Lunge: As you’re doing these walking lunges, you’ll want to make sure that you’re doing them both forwards and backwards.
- Butt Kick: Again, you’ll want to be doing these forwards and backwards. You can also alternate spins and the height of the kick.
- High Kick: Go as high as you possibly can, with the goal of reaching head level. For added difficulty, try adding hops in between your kicks.
- High-Knee Quick Step: Don’t go for distance. Instead, place your focus on getting your knees as high as possible while keeping your body up tall.
As we mentioned earlier, with all of these motion warm ups, make sure that you’re taking care to use the proper form. You wouldn’t want to get injured during warm ups, would you?
I’m All Warmed Up; Let’s Get to the Plyometric Exercises!
Now that your body is all stretched, warmed up and prepared, you’re ready to begin your plyometric workout regimen. There is an incredible amount of exercises that you can employ in your regimen. They fall into three basic categories: jumping exercises, running exercises, and agility exercises.
Plyometric Exercises: Jumping
Jumping is the goal, isn’t it? So it makes sense that you’d find these exercises here. For these you can employ the following:
- Squat Jumps
- Broad Jumps
- Vertical Jumps
As you go through repetitions of these exercises, remember that your emphasis should be on quality and not on quantity. Try to make each jump count by being mindful of your form and ways in which you can improve it.
Plyometric Exercises: Running
You’re trying to develop power and explosiveness in your legs, and running exercises are a great way to do that. Here are some of the running exercises that you can employ as part of your plyometric regimen:
- High-Knee Quick Step
- Power Skips
- Zig Zags
As with your stretches and warm ups, make sure that you’re paying attention to form and that you’ve got your strength shoes on!
Plyometric Exercises: Agility
Remember when we mentioned that you might need a ladder? Here’s where it comes in handy. There are so many different ways that you can employ the ladder to your benefit, but here are a few that you can consider:
- Straddle Hops
- The Ickey Shuffle
- Bunny Hops
- Dead Leg Skips
- Jump Cuts
- The W
- Lateral Leg Whip
- And more!
If you were thinking of skipping the ladder, don’t. When trying to develop your vertical jump, the ladder is an excellent tool for cultivating power and explosiveness. When employed correctly, you’ll find that it’s a tool that’s just as useful as your strength shoes!
Plyometric Training: The Final Word in Getting More Ups!
We hope that by taking a look at this guide, you now have a better understanding of what plyometric training entails. In all truth, it is absolutely the most effective way in which you can improve your vertical jump and get more ups! As you embark on a plyometric regimen, remember that results will take approximately two months to materialize and that, due to its intensity, you’ll want to get adequate rest between workouts to decrease the risk of injury.
Get Started With Your Plyometric Training Through Strength Systems
At Strength Systems we specialize in getting you all of the equipment that you need to jump-start your plyometric training program. We have strength shoes, resistance bands, jump boxes, ladders and more! So if you want to get started today, take a look through our store and order all the materials you’ll need to get started tomorrow!