At the end of the 1950’s, Soviet coach and researcher Dr. Yuri Verkhoshansky, also know as “The Father of Plyometrics,” devoted his research to the understanding of the science and profound effectiveness of jump based training. Through his work, Dr. Verkhoshansky was able to establish plyometric training to be an effective training method for increasing athletic performance and ground reaction force time. He concluded that those athletes who were able to absorb and transfer kinetic energy more efficiently had greater abilities to produce greater amounts of force (jump higher, run faster, lift more explosively).
The Science Behind Plyometric Training?
Plyometric training has been shown to increase ground reaction force time and enhance the stretch shortening cycle. When paired with maximal power output, an athlete is better able to produce speed, explosiveness, and change direction in sport. Additionally, plyometric training has been shown to:
- Improve speed, quickness, and power output after the development of a strong strength base.
- Increased vertical jump performance, which correlates to a more explosive athlete.
- Plyometric training may enhance mental preparation and change of direction response before maximal intensity exercise in athtles.
Longtime USSR weightlifting coach Alexey Medvedez wrote about the effectiveness of depth jumps in his training manuals, “A System of Multi-Year Training in Weightlifting” and “A Program of Multi-Year Training in Weightlifting”. Medvedez stated that depth jumps were a go-to jump training exercise to assist lifters in the catch and recovery of cleans and snatches. The depth jump is an amazing plyometric exercise to develop the stretch reflex after eccentric loading, very similar to heavy squats, cleans, and snatches.
Standing Vertical Jump
This exercise is a staple of many weightlifting and athletic jump based programs. The ability to load the hips and forcefully jump oneself onto a target is a great determinant of explosiveness, lower body strength, and athletic capacity for speed and power sports. According to Bob Takano, American Weightlifting Coach, USA Weightlifting Instructor, and Hall of Fame 2007 inductee, reported that elite level lifters were expected to be able to jump to a platform at nipple height, some even at clavicle height. Needless to say, this exercise is a standard in weightlifting an athletic testing.
Single Leg “Running”
This unilateral jumping exercise is a great way to train the legs and hips individually, which is beneficial for maintaining a balanced and symmetrical training approach.
This classic plyometric exercise has been used by sprinters and weightlifters for decades, and still has a place in today’s training regimens. This exercise promotes explosive vertical and horizontal displacement, and forces athletes to rebound and further develop the stretch shortening cycle.
Bounding Hurdle Jumps
Bounding jumps allow for multiple cycles of stretch shortening to occur, as well as develop sound landing mechanics in the reload phase.
Think you have what it takes to start jumping? Like anything in weightlifting, technique and sounds progressions are key to maximal performance and injury prevention. I often recommend beginner and intermediate lifters to perform the routine below 1-2 times per week keeping jumps in to 1-2 sets of 3-5 reps per exercise range, and then progress into more complex movements like the ones listed below.
Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.
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