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Jump Training for Explosive Power


Jump Training for Explosive Power

Everyone knows the benefits of jump training (shock training or plyometrics).  Jumping, bounding, hopping, sprinting, skipping and so on, have serious carryover to your and your athlete’s abilities to recruit motor units / muscle fibers and improve their explosive power (starting strength, explosive strength and reactive strength).  Basically jump training will improve your ability to express power quickly, this is called rate of force development (or RFD).
YES, more cool stuff after the jump.
I also like to say as an athlete improves their RFD, they become more neurologically efficient at recruiting motor units.

Strength training, exercises that develop explosive (high RFD) power and SPP (sport skill development) will develop more complete athletes.

How Are Jumps Incorporated into the Workout

  • In Isolation – prior to the workout or during an additional training session
  • Complex training – logically paired strength training / plyometric means, ie. squats followed by squat jumps

Jump Considerations

  • perform early in the training session (or during an additional training session prior to the strength training session)
  • monitor (daily, weekly, microcycle) volume and quit set when form and speed diminish
  • land softly, try not to make a sound
  • absorb landing with hips back and force distributed across hips, glutes and hamstrings
  • work toward minimal ground contact time
  • full recovery between sets or efforts (3-5 min)

Options for Jump Training in a Commercial Gym

  • jumping over bench
  • starting in full squat then jumping over bench
  • depth jumping from dropping from bench to ground and exploding upward, vertically
  • depth jumping from dropping from bench to ground and exploding upward, horizontally (ie. broad jump)
  • jump rope variations
  • alternating split jumps
  • bodyweight squat jumps
  • burpees
  • seated bench jumps vertically
  • seated bench jumps horizontally
  • lateral hops over dumbbell
  • barbell squat jumps

In this video you’ll see some jump training we did before our last lower body day.  We show three different jump variations; seated box jump, depth jump and running jump.  Each have their respective benefits and similarities.

Running Jumps


Seated Box Jumps


Jump Training for Power

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4 Responses to “Jump Training for Explosive Power”

  1. Rob Says:


    I have always preferred using jumps (horizontal or broad)prior to the heavily loaded movement (squat or deadlift, respectively) when pairing them as a form of contrast training, as I like the CNS potentiation without incurring any fatigue prior to the lifting. HAve you guys found better results with the reverse order you mentioned in the article?

    I also had a question relating to the pictures posted. Some coaches are adamant that take of an landing positions (torso angle, neutral spine, degree of hip flexion, etc.) should be identical or close to it. In the pictures above, that is not the case. Do you feel that guideline is largely overrated? This is not meant in any way to be me questioning the ability of you and your athletes, as your numerous video posts speak for themselves and the results you guys get, so this is coming purely from a learning standpoint.

    I am just curious when you may take some liberties with the lower back rounding, or some other alteration to mechanics versus the starting position in order to land on a higher platform/box/step, and when you choose to be more strict in terms of take off/landing position and mechanics.

  2. Jim Smith Says:


    Yes, potentiation is the key. I mentioned in the article that jump training can be applied prior to or after strength training or in a complex set. Most coaches prefer to engage high / low intensity plyos prior to the training session because of their intensity and CNS requirement. But even with the pre-fatigue of a strength training session, it is sometimes preferred to engage low intensity plyos (as seen in the video) AFTER the strength training IF the athlete / lifter requires a certain level of warm-up and preparation. The workout actually serves as the precursor warm-up to the jumping. Sometimes the standard activation, mobility and SMR is not enough to neurologically and physiologically prepare the athlete for training. But again, this is dependent upon the intensity and duration of the primary session before the jump training and this must be monitored closely. Auto-regulation could even determine that the entire workout must be changed for that day.

    The guidance for perfect form is important and must be drilled. That is the purpose of strength training and practice. But you also must realize “perfect practice makes perfect” in this application is being discussed in the boundaries of GPP and the general preparation of the athlete. Yes plyometrics or jump training is a general specific training means but it is still general, meaning GPP. Now tHe goal of practice is to develop and “perfect” sport specific skills. But the only way to develop these skills is by actually playing the sport.

    Now when the actual sport (or an isolated skill is being developed in practice real-time), “perfect practice makes perfect” goes out the window. That is the basis of chaos. If the actions in sport are random then the outcome can NOT be predicted and the athlete’s reactions and subsequent next steps cannot be determined. This cannot be trained in the gym. You can attempt to bridge the gap between GPP and SPP with certain protocols (see Chaos Training Manual – ) but your only hope is that the work you did in the gym and on the field will succeed in appropriately developing the athlete according to the biodynamic / bioenergetic demands of the sport.

    So what does this mean? Yes train for perfection and teach proper jumping and landing mechanics. Yes ensure that the athlete’s hamstrings, glutes, hips and upper thoracic segments are flexible and/or mobile enough to prevent rounding of the lower back with large ROM articulations of the hips, knees and ankles. But it will never be perfect. And variations do happen with each athletes, for each workout and for each exercise that go against “perfect form”.

    Thanks for the question.


  3. rees Says:

    Hey man,
    Do you like the complex training? Pairing a plyo with an explosive weighted set.

    I have a friend that includes it all the time and I’ve seen some pretty profound research but personally I just feel like one would take away from the other. Plus the research was on athletes that hadn’t lifted before.

    What kinds of rest times and set:rep ratios you using around them?

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