Are you looking for the best plyometric exercises examples?
Let’s get straight to the point; at the beginning, there were only 2 “real” plyometric exercise, from the work of Verkhoshansky:
- The Depth Jump
- The Drop Jump
In the United States and in the rest of the world we now consider plyometrics every single jump exercise, basically.
In reality, the real plyometric exercise includes a “shock”, which is why it was called “the shock method” by Yuri Verkhoshansky, the father of the method and author of Special Strength: manual for coaches” and co-author of “Supertraining”, one of the best books regarding training ever written.
The Depth Jump for plyometrics is what the Squat is for strength training.
You jump off of a box, land and immediately jump up as high as you can and with as much explosive power you have.
The forces at play are extremely high – it was called the “shock” method for a reason – and bones, muscles and tendons need to be highly trained in order to:
- Prevent possible injury
- Make the exercise effective
During the depth jump, we make great use of the stretch-shortening cycle, which is one of the reasons why these shock methods are so useful for athletes of any kind.
Basketball players, NFL players, soccer players, you name it: every athlete needs to earn the SSC in order to become a better athlete.
Generally speaking we train the realy plyometric with low to moderate work, usually ranging between 25 and 50 total contacts for a single session, since the impact on the central nervous system, muscles, and tendons, is very high.
That obviously means many possible schemes, like:
You should be using the depth jumps in your training only if you are ready for it, have great motor control and eccentric strength.
One suggestion I have for you is to keep the frequency low (2 to 3 times per week), the intensity high and movement quality even higher.
Plyometrics can be one of the best things you can do to improve as an athlete, or it can as easily ruin your knee stability and tendons. Be cautious.
What do I mean by high intensity? A high box. It’s not unusual to use very high boxes, such as 30” and above. I would advise any athletes, even the ones who already squat two times their bodyweight or more, to start with a 12” or a 24” box, at least for a mesocycle or two.
Only elite athletes that are used to doing lots of plyometrics and that have done depth jumps for years should consider higher boxes, in my opinion.
You should be squatting twice your bodyweight to even start doing high-intensity plyometrics such as high depth jumps and high drop jumps.
Do not try at home if you are a high school kid with a 1.2 bw squat, please.
Get stronger first.
The high entry level point for performing plyos is probably the number one reason why in the United States many Strength coaches started calling plyometric every single jumping exercise.
Every athlete should be able to jump, it’s one of the fundamentals moves we learn as kids.
Not every athlete can depth jump – at least without the risk of injury.
So, which are these common jumping exercises that coaches are using when they can’t have their athletes perform depth jumps?
Here’s a few “plyometrics exercises” example:
- Box Jumps
- Counter Movement Jumos
- Tuck Jumps
- Broad Jumps
- Kneeling Jumps
From here, we can proceed to single leg versions or add weight or both.
Eventually, we will be ready for the real plyometric exercises.
How to start with Plyometrics
Hire a strength coach.
Just kidding – but it is a good idea.
First, get strong. At least twice your bodyweight in the back squat or 2.3 times your bodyweight for the trap bar deadlift is a great starting point in my personal experience for the actual high box depth jumps and drop jumps.
Even less if you start with a 12” box, but make sure your eccentric strength is at least decent, or simply start by performing the suggested jumping exercise in order to develop explosive strength, bone density, and tendon resiliency as well, which is too often overlooked.
Make sure to use the jumping exercise as you should, and not like they do in the CrossFit Boxes.
- High movement quality
- Maximal intent
- Long rest
- Low to medium volume and frequency
With such low volume and frequency, every single rep counts: make sure to give it all as far as quality and intensity.
Plyometrics exercises for Athletes
Every sports benefits from real plyometrics and general jumping exercises that include the stretch-shortening-cycle:
- American Football
If you are an athlete of basically any sport you would benefit from plyometric exercises, since it’s one of the best ways to increase explosive strength and rate of force development.
Not only: once mastered, it’s also correlated to injury prevention.
Plyometric exercises are also used in the Westside Barbell method of strength training for increasing overall performance and power, even though it doesn’t directly increase maximal strength.
We’ve seen how the actual plyometric exercises are only two: the depth jump and the drop jump.
They both require a decent entry point in eccentric strength and overall joint stability.
If you are a strong athlete, start with low-intensity depth jumps and drop jumps.
If you are a weak athlete, get strong first: always focus the weak link.
In the meantime, go ahead and do jumping exercises to improve the rate of force development, but please stay away from high-intensity plyos.
You have been warned.