The following is a guest post from Strength & Conditioning Coach, Miguel Aragoncillo.
Jumping is a very reactionary and obviously explosive type movement.
It can help the average trainee by influencing body composition, and increasing activation of subsequent muscle fibers (and thus increasing calories burned later on), but also by increasing power output of exercises within the exercise program.
While there is a time and place for plyometrics within specific phases of your training program, there are progressions that need to be followed. Adding tons of foot contacts with the intention of “speed development” along with incorrect technique will elicit less than optimal results when athletic development, increased strength, and increased power is the goal.
“31 inch vertical in May, 2013. I’ve since gained 3 more inches on my vertical jump due to following these principles along with appropriate strength training.”
If you are preparing for a specific sport, plyometrics and increases in power have been shown to be specific to the plane (1), so if your sport requires more frontal plane power (throwing a ball, rotational sports, etc), then the exercise should be specific to that regards as well.
In reality, there are several other benefits that jumping can elicit other than looking super cool as you attempt fly through the air like Michael Jordan:
- Increased central nervous system activation, which elicits positive adaptations for improved jump performance. (2)
- Increasing motor neuron (the nerves that the muscles attach to) activation for jumping patterns.
- Increases in bone mass due to absorption of the “shock” that the body undergoes (3)
The Meat of the Exercises
With this example, I chose the family of vertical jumps. Cueing will generally consist of maintaining a tall chest, land with your glutes sticking out (with knees in a straight line if anything), and prevent knees from buckling inwards.
General Sets & Rep Scheme: 2 sets x 5 repetitions, progress towards 3 sets x 5 repetitions
General Sets & Rep Scheme: 4 sets x 2 repetitions, progress to 5 sets x 3 repetitions
Weighted Vertical Jump (with Vertimax or Weighted Vest)
General Sets & Rep Scheme: 2 sets x 5 repetitions, progress to 3 sets x 5 repetitions
More Jump Variations
To take a step outside of those traditional movements will guide us to the next type of jumps: lateral bounds, and broad jumps.
Broad Jump with Stick – 3 sets of 4 repetitions
Repeated Broad Jump – 3 sets of 3 repetitions
Broad Jump vs Resistance Band – 3 sets of 3 repetitions
Lateral Bounds with Stick – 3 sets of 3 repetitions per side
Repeated Lateral Bounds – 3 sets of 4 repetitions per side
Lateral Jumps vs Resistance Band – 3 sets of 3 repetitions per side
The interesting part about these movements is that they have all of the above benefits of increasing power within plane specific movements for athletes such as baseball and hockey players, BUT they are in different planes of motion when compared to the vertical jump. While variety is certainly important for preventing mental fatigue within an exercise program, it is important to understand that using a variety of exercises to drive adaptations, decrease overload of the same movement patterns, and see improved measures as a result of all of the above are perhaps a few of my greatest tools as a coach and trainer.
Logical Progressions Within the Exercise Program
Ideally the amount of time that you’ll benefit from these plyometric variations along with their progressions will vary from 3-4 weeks. If you’re in a specific block of an off-season, it could change widely – depending on your mechanics, position, and movement quality.
If I were to program this for someone who is attempting to go from #Joe2Pro, I’d make these logistical assumptions within the program:
- First week will be spent learning how the movement works, and whether or not I need more time learning the movement before really ramping it up.
- Second week will encompass this “ramping up” of intensity through a volume based approach.
- Third week should see an increase in intensity and effort.
- Depending on how well you performed in the first three weeks, the fourth weeks’ jumps may be taken out or reduced in volume.
After the first four weeks, move onto the next progression, and start with the same mindset of learning the movement, increasing intensity, and then aiming to set some height or distance records in the third weeks!
At the end of the day, I’d emphasize quality of movement over the quantity of repetitions, so it might be helpful to record yourself initially, and then check it afterwards to make sure you are keeping your form in check!– Miguel Aragoncillo is a strength coach and personal trainer local to the Greater Philadelphia Area, currently working in South Jersey at Endeavor Sports Performance, a facility located just outside of Philadelphia. Mainly working with youth athletes, Miguel takes great pride in his work and research that he has devoted to helping the dancing and bboying community specifically.Miguel holds a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist certification through the National Strength & Conditioning Association, Health Fitness Specialist certification through the American College of Sports Medicine. Further, he received his Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science from Temple University, located in Philadelphia, PA.Read more at his blog at www.MiguelAragoncillo.com or follow him on Twitter @MiggsyBogues.
1 – Lehman, Graeme, Eric J. Drinkwater, and David G. Behm. “Correlation of Throwing Velocity to the Results of Lower-Body Field Tests in Male College Baseball Players.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 27.4 (2013): 902-908.
3 – Witzke, KARA A., and CHRISTINE M. Snow. “Effects of polymetric jump training on bone mass in adolescent girls.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise 32.6 (2000): 1051-1057.