We at the UI Planet, recommend a vertical jump workout that will work for any athlete. A true athlete or fitness enthusiast gets the most out of incorporating specific exercises and routines that are intended to develop their most utilized muscle groups. Each detailed routine, or training session, thereby requires a clinically proven system that improves individual athletic ability. In many cases, a coach or trainer will assign plyometric training to the athlete’s schedule.
Plyometric training is a technique involving explosive jump exercises to increase athletic or general fitness power within the body. While the act of incorporating quick jumping exercises is essential to the routine, it is important to note not all jumping-type exercises are involved. True plyometric conditions the body by combining exercises that provide dynamic resistance to stretch a specific muscle group, followed by quick movements which shorten the muscles. Trainers refer to the phases as eccentric (stretching) and concentric (shortening). The sudden, radical movements are intended to strengthen the specific areas much quicker than many other exercise programs.
Plyometric exercises store more energy in the involved muscle groups due to the dynamic resistance. That increases the regeneration and efficiency of the target muscles’ neuromuscular system. What that means is that instead of simply building muscles like basic exercise or training programs try to do, the jumping mechanics of plyometric training actually make the muscle groups work harder in less or equal time – when compared to other workouts of similar time or effort.
The beneficial effects on the muscle groups, of course, depend on the types and amounts of exercises incorporated into the individual’s training routine. Plyo can lead to substantial improvements in athletic abilities and muscular control. The training can increase the onset of speed and improve the time of initial cuts or turns in the athlete’s sport, while improving overall endurance and strength.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Plyometric Training
Plyo was originally developed for sprinters, but they can improve the power of almost any athlete and offers many advantages over other workout routines.
One of the more interesting advantages is that it’s a safe and effective. Due to their extra muscle boosting qualities, plyo exercises also burn more calories than similar level training routines. In turn, more fat is burned, and thus, you lose weight faster.
Also, anyone can incorporate plyometric training into their own routine because it doesn’t necessarily require special equipment or machines. Quite often, you can jump on your own, use a jump rope, or even a mini rebounder for low-impact conditioning methods. In some cases, you can even temporarily use your bed. The right training for you depends on your personal goals and fitness level.
There’s only one significant disadvantage of plyometric training, but it’s a big one. Because of the explosive power behind the movements, they could lead to injury if done incorrectly. Too many people attempt to just jump right into plyos without consulting a medical professional or trainer. Quite often, that takes a real toll on the body and causes irreparable damage, especially to knee joints. Always try to either discuss your goals with a sports doctor or fitness professional familiar with this type of jump training before trying it on your own. Your body will thank you for it.
Best Plyometric Jump Training Exercises
Like any other type of training, the best exercises will depend on your specific needs, goals and fitness level. But if your ultimate goals involve improving your actual jump abilities, the following exercises, after a decent cardio warm up, should help you get there relatively quickly:
Squat Jumps – With feet shoulder width apart, squat until your quads are parallel to the floor. Explode into a vertical jump. Return immediately to squat position and repeat.
Frog Jumps – Feet shoulder width apart, bow your knees outward to the sides and lower yourself until your bottom is almost resting on the floor. Press your hands into the floor in front of you, and keeping your back straight, spring upward. Return to frog position – knees out, butt almost on the floor, hands in front. You can either repeat reps in place or move forward with each rep.
Shock Jumps – Standing on an elevated box, simply step off of the box with one leg, following with the other. Land on the balls of both feet simultaneously before lowering to a flat-footed stance. Repeat.
Burpees – From standing position, squat as low as possible. Place your hands in front of your feet and hop into push up – plank position. Pull your feet back into your body, and spring up into a vertical jump. Jump back into low squat mode and repeat.
Mountain Climbers – Begin in push up position. Bring one knee into your chest and tap the toes of that foot lightly onto the floor. Switch feet by jumping with the other, returning the original foot to its starting position. Alternate feet by jumping and tapping. It should be a combination of a step master and ski stroke. Keep your back straight and don’t twist. The faster you alternate legs, to more effective the exercise becomes.
1-2-3 Jumps – This is a simple, but effective, exercise. Stand with your feet together and arms at your sides. Take two long, strides as though you’re running. On the third step, jump as high as you can. Repeat the process beginning with the opposite foot.
The trick to getting the most out of a routine is to perform the movements quickly. And always be sure to perform a proper cool down after any training program.
*Note: Adding a weight bar or belt to any of the above exercises will help increase the benefits of Plyometric training. However, if you’re a novice or not ready for that for any reason, performing the exercises without weights will still dramatically improve your fitness condition.
Can plyometric training increase your vertical jump?
Since the 1990’s questions have arisen regarding the real benefits of plyometric training, and the effects on one’s vertical jump have since been addressed. Clinical proof confirms that plyometric training can, in fact, significantly improve an athlete’s vertical jump. There are conditions, of course, to consider. Group studies performed on 4-week and 7-week test groups verified improvements on both ends. However, the longer the training lasted, the greater the jump improved. The most logical reason for this is likely due to over-training within the shorter period test group. Plyometric exercises require an extended rest period of 2-3 days between workouts. Therefore, the longer test group had time to follow the training schedule to the letter, thereby giving their muscles plenty of time to build the elasticity required for better vertical jump performance.
So, what’s the verdict? If done safely, correctly, and is overseen by a fitness professional, this specialized training can be the perfect option to transform your body, improve your athletic abilities, and significantly increase your vertical jump.