Fitness Tip

Fitness Tips


Krista Williams, Certified Personal Trainer

Plyometrics, also known as “jump training,” are exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time, designed to increase speed-strength, power, and explosiveness. Plyometric exercise prescription is similar to resistance and aerobic exercise prescription, in that it must include the following: Mode, Intensity, Frequency, Duration, Recovery, and Warm-Up. This article will discuss Mode, Intensity, and Warm-Up for lower and upper body Plyometric exercise.

Mode = The body region performing the exercise.

  • A single-leg hop = a lower body Plyometric exercise
  • A two-handed medicine ball pass = an upper body Plyometric exercise

Lower body Plyometrics are appropriate for virtually any athlete and any sport, including racquetball, tennis, track and field, basketball, football, baseball, Tough Mudder, etc. These sports require athletes to produce a maximum amount of muscular force in a short amount of time. Many of these sports require horizontal, vertical, and lateral movements. Athletes must make quick, powerful movements and change direction in all planes to compete successfully. Lower body Plyometric training allows the athlete the ability to produce more force in a shorter amount of time. Lower body Plyometric drills include:

  • Jumps in place
  • Standing jumps
  • Multiple hops and jumps
  • Bounds
  • Plyo box drills
  • Depth jumps

Upper body Plyometrics require rapid, powerful upper body movements and are used in many sports and activities, including baseball, swimming, kayaking, and rowing. Plyometric training of the shoulder joint for swimming or baseball would not only produce an increase in strength of the power stroke or velocity of the pitch, it may also prevent injury to the shoulder and elbow joints. Upper body Plyometric drills include:

  • Medicine ball throws and catches
  • Feet elevated Plyo push-ups
  • Depth Plyo push-ups
  • Medicine ball wall throws

Intensity = the amount of stress placed on involved muscles, connective tissues, and joints, controlled primarily by the type of drill performed. The intensity of plyometric drills covers a large range. Skipping is low intensity, while box jumps place high stress on the muscles and joints. Generally, as intensity increases, volume should decrease.

Warm-Up: As in any training program, the Plyometric exercise session must begin with a general warm-up, dynamic stretching, or specific warm-up. The specific warm-up for Plyometric training should consist of low-intensity, dynamic movements. Warm-up drills include:

  • Marching or jogging (high knees, butt-kickers)
  • Skipping (exaggerated form), footwork (changes in direction-shuttle, stride drills), lunging (multi-directional-forward, side, backward)

Plyometric exercise is not inherently dangerous, however as with all modes of exercise, the risk for injury exists. Injuries typically occur when proper training procedures are violated, and may be the result of an insufficient strength and conditioning base, inadequate warm-up, or even poor shoes.

Interested in including Plyometric training into your workout routine? Contact a Parkpoint Personal Trainer today! Receive 10% off your first training session or package. Hop to it!