What makes a good plyometric workout?

When it comes to putting together any type of workout, there are certain aspects that need to be present to make it useful.  The same can be said when choosing good plyometric workouts. Plyometric training is a great addition to any strength and conditioning program. When adding plyometric workouts to your program, there are three areas that need to be addressed: Structure, Safety and Synergy.

Structure:  All programs need to start with some sort of measurement. When starting a good plyometric workout to your program, we use certain tests that will show the improvement made by plyometric training. The vertical jump test and standing long jump are tests that can help provide that information.  After the testing is done, a progressive approach needs to be made when choosing exercises. Start with smaller heights and distances and work your way up to more difficult and complex drills. This progression allows for the body to adapt to the changes and continue gaining power and strength.  Have a plan and follow it, trust me it works.

Safety:  Nobody can get better while injured. Many times the difference between getting hurt and and staying healthy is simple common sense. Our evaluation process is a good way to understand your limits and see where to start with many of the plyometric exercises.  Building an adequate strength base is the first step to safe and effective training. Training beyond yourself and taking unnecessary risks with elaborate drills that you find on the internet is a one way ticket to an injury. Master the basics and do the simple things well.

Synergy:  When choosing plyometric drills and exercises, the concept of crossover to the field of play is a big factor. There are a variety of drills to do, but which ones will benefit you the most? You need to look at the movements that your sport requires and the directions that are most commonly moved in. For example: volleyball is a vertically dominate sport. When choosing drills for this sport, more vertically based movements and exercises need to be used. This will show increases in vertical jump and more crossover to the court. On the other hand most field sports (football, soccer, baseball etc.) move in the horizontal plane. With this said, plyometric drills that move both laterally and linear should be emphasized.

When putting these three concepts together, good plyometric workouts are made and athletes get better. This can also show the importance of a experienced and knowledgeable strength and conditioning coach.  Sports performance programming is an art; here at MVP Sports Center, we have over 13 years of experience painting pictures of improvement and success. If you are looking to get the benefits of plyometric training, invest in the right program and right coaches… you will see the return on your investment!

By: Coach Wray Watkins, BS, Director of Strength & Conditioning