Jump training or plyometric training is always a hot topic. It certainly deserve discussion whenever it is brought up. In my opinion, it is not being used properly and my opinion is based on many years of training athletes and seeing the results. Let me explain…
Jumping is a Skill
The issue that concerns me the most is when I hear about an entire training program dedicated only to jumping. I have seen it for years. I have witnessed high school volleyball coaches dedicating 60 plus minutes, 3 times a week to jumping! My body hurts just thinking about it. How the misunderstanding of volume became so screwed up is beyond me.
Let’s not forget jumping is a skill just like other speed skills. The more you do in one workout is not necessarily a good thing. The more quality work at a high intensity is a good thing.
Jumping and Strength
It is also important to understand strength is the foundation of jumping and speed. If you can improve the strength of the athlete, then the jump training or plyometric training you use will have greater value. Plus, strength training will decrease the injury potential. I personally know if I improve the overall strength of my athletes, then they will have better results on jumping. What I am seeing more and more is athletes performing jumping programs with high volume and never doing any strength training. This is a problem. I am not saying you can’t do jump training until you have completed several weeks of strength training, you just need to control your volume and base the jump training off technique early on until you have adequate strength to handle more intensity. Also, you can be doing strength training along with the jump training.
Focus of Jumping
The primary focus on jumping should be the quality movement in the jump and landing along with appropriate intensity. If the athlete is capable of handling some load, then I will have them use a Vertimax, bands, etc. The goal is for the athletes to jump as hard as they can to challenge the nervous system on each attempt. When performing more plyometric (stretch shortening cycle training) based training the focusing is now on quickness off the ground per landing. You still want great technique but emphasize the quickness off the ground. In true jump training you should not worry as much about the quick re-jump and put more emphasis on the intensity and power output of each jump.
Number of Jumps
People are usually amazed when I tell them I have the athletes perform only 25-50 total jumps and most of the time closer to 25. This does not include Low Box Training drills that have very little impact. I break the total number into a few different exercises with 2-3 sets per exercise. To be honest, the athletes most productive jumping is when they perform 4-5 sets of 5-6 Vertimax jumps. It is simple and to the point. The athletes respond very well from the Vertimax.
This information gives you a little to think about when using jump training AS A PART OF THE TOTAL PROGRAM.