The increase in muscular power derived from plyometric training can be quite substantial when the exercises are designed and executed properly. To receive the maximum benefit from plyometric exercises, they should be used in conjunction with weight lifting exercises, especially if the weight lifting goal is to increase muscular strength and power. Below are a few of the most common plyometric exercises that can be performed. Most individuals use them to increase speed and vertical jump capabilities.
- Squat Jumps
Using a similar motion to the squat exercise, squat jumps require one to bend their knees into a squatting motion before leaping directly vertical, fully extending their arms and legs (with toes pointed). Lower the arms and bend the knees as you descend back down and repeat the motion.
- Tuck Jumps
Standing with both feet together, jump straight up bringing your knees to the chest. Extend the legs back down before landing in a semi-squat position.
Incredibly similar to squat thrusts, burpees are performed without weights and require the individual to jump at the end of the exercise rather than simply stand up. Start by standing straight up with the feet together. Squat down into and extend the legs into a push-up position. Perform a push-up, bring the legs back toward the body, and jump straight up. Repeat this motion.
- Box Jumps
Directly facing the jump box and standing stationary, leap up with both feet and land on the box. Be sure to fully extend the calves for maximum emphasis on the soleus muscle.
- Lateral Box Jumps
Standing to the side of the box with both feet together, jump sideways (keeping the feet together and bringing the knees to the chest similar to the tuck jumps) clearing the box and landing on the other side. Jump back to the original side and repeat as needed.
- Depth Jumps
Standing flat footed atop a box, bring your arms behind you and at the same time, bend at the knees. When you thrust your arms forward, leap up and away from the box. Focus on getting as much vertical height as possible. Once you land, allow the body to motion downward into a squat position and then jump again, fully extending your body in a vertical fashion (as you would for squat jumps). Land with a slight squatting motion. As a tip, you can set up multiple boxes to repeat the motion quickly.
It is critical to perform these kinds of exercises with proper training and supervision. Any tiny miscue can lead to injury especially when using boxes. Always make sure the boxes are in good working order and set on a stable, flat surface.