Most people start with the wrong jumps
Are you ready to jumpstart your strength and force production? Look no further than plyometric training!
But where do you begin?
Here, Matt Casturo (from the Movement System) and I will walk you through the basics of jump training. Once you’ve mastered the basics, we’ll progress you along the plyometric continuum.
Check out the blog, video, and podcast to learn more.
The 2 Most Important Plyometric Variables
When it comes to plyometrics there are two primary variables to consider:
- Ground Contact time
Here’s what each of those are.
Ground contact time
Ground contact time refers to how long you’re in contact with the ground during the exercise. Longer ground contact times express less force throughout the body.
Momentum is the amount of velocity you have as you’re coming down toward the ground. So the faster you “fall” towards the ground, the higher the momentum. This is why falling off a building hurts (don’t try this at home)!
Plyometrics for Beginners (START HERE)
If you’re new to plyometrics, you’ll want to start plyometrics that have:
- Longer ground contact time
- Less momentum
These plyometrics will ensure good technique and reduce overloading of the body.
One of the best places to start is with a drop freeze.
A drop freeze involves landing from a very small fall. You can start by just landing in place:
Then progress it to landing from on the toes:
This trains effective absorption and loading. It’s also a great stimulus for bone mineral density.
Beginner Plyometric Progression
Once you’ve mastered the drop freeze, you can progress to exercises like box jumps. These are the first jumps where you will have some air time. When you have air time, landing becomes paramount to load tolerance.
The 3 keys when you land on any jump are:
- Toe-to-heel foot contact
- Slight knee bend
- Land softly
Although counterintuitive, the higher the box, the easier the landing. That’s because you spend less time “falling,” so there is less momentum.
Unless you do those insanely high box jumps, but let’s not go there.
Once you no longer need a box, you can then jump to the ground. For this, we like hurdle jumps. This variation increases the eccentric phase of the jump.
All the prior jumps progressed momentum while keeping long ground contact. The other way to progress plyometrics is by shortening the ground contact time.
Once you’ve mastered sticking the landing, progress to continuous hurdle jumps.
Here, you’ll want to focus on spending as little time on the ground as possible.
A cue I like: pretend you’re jumping on hot coals
At this point, you’ve officially done your first true plyometric. By that, I mean going through the entire stretch-shortening cycle.
Plyometric training is amazing for improving force production. But you don’t want to use advanced moves without mastering the basics.
Starting with long ground contacts and low momentum is key. Master these fundamentals, and you’ll get so much more with harder drills.
So what are you waiting for? Jump to it!”