Does plyometrics for basketball really work, and does it help for jumping?
Often when the NBA offers TV access to players working out, we see then either in the weight room or doing plyometics for the most part.
So it should work right? If you said yes, then you’re correct.
Results of Plyometrics Training
Studies have been shown that increasing leg strength, power and explosiveness produces speed and jump results. It has also been shown that squats are one of the most effective ways of getting this type of result, specially if your goal in to jump higher.
That said, a group of researchers from Oregon State University wanted to put things to the test. This way there is scientific proof that plyometrics for basketball to jump higher works.
The study lasted for 6 weeks, where they split the participants into 3 groups.
- Group 1 performed a Squat program
- Group 2 performed a plyometric jump program
- Group 3 incorporated the squat program with the plyometric training.
The results of the study are very interesting to say the least:
- Group 1: Squat only group – 1.3 inches increase in vertical jump
- Group 2: Plyometric only group – increased 1.8 inches in their jump
- Group 3: Squat + Plyometric group – 4.2 inches vertical jump increase
That’s a substantial increase not to mention difference in the group that added plyometrics to their weight training. To think that they only did 3 basic plyometric movements makes us see its effects.
Best Plyometrics to Jump Higher
Plyometrics are extremely effective way of increasing lower body explosiveness and power. The exercises below are meant to help increase vertical jumping ability.
When including plyometrics into your training program, be sure that there is proper programming involved and you don’t just lump all the exercises together and to them.
Doing so will likely lead to overload where you’re doing too much. This can lead to overuse injury and also be less effective since some of the exercises overlap one another. If you aren’t sure look for a program that’s been put together that’s been shown to deliver results.
From experience, I can say that doing that saves a lot of time and also saves a lot of wasted effort that didn’t pay off.
1. Box Jumps
Purpose: Box jumps give you an idea of how much you can jump. It also allows you to assess something that’s in front of you, assess it and jump as high as you need to, to get over it.
Box jumps are used to improve jump height and train you to become more explosive.
Equipment: Boxes, different heights that are stable enough to hold you.
How to do Box Jumps:
- Prepare a box and place it in front of you. Start with something that you know you can jump on and increase the height later on.
- With an athletic stance, swing your arms, and jump up on to the box. Try to land softly.
- After you land, step off to get back down to the ground.
- Work with a box that is challenging enough yet something that you can reach.
- Always make sure to practice safety since you can get injured doing this exercise.
2. Depth Jumps
Purpose: the depth jump uses gravity to add to your body weight. The extra force makes your legs work harder when you jump up. This builds strength so you can jump higher.
Depth jumps help improve jump quickness, ability to bounce back for a second jump and also increase the vertical.
Equipment: Boxes of different heights
How to do depth jumps:
- Prepare two plyo boxes and position them close to one another.
- Step on top of one of the boxes.
- Step off the box.
- When you touch the ground, immediately jump back up onto the other box.
3. Squat Jumps
Purpose: teach the body to work as a single unit in the jump. It also trains you to jump from a squat position so you can gather enough height even when there isn’t time to fully bend your knees for the next jump.
Squat jumps help train proper technique and form as well as lower body explosiveness.
How to do a squat jump:
- Stand in an athletic position.
- Go down to a squat position and prepare yourself to jump as high as you can.
- Swing your arms to get the proper momentum and jump straight up.
- Variation of the squat jump sometimes have athletes hold their arms up like in a rebound situation or have them place them behind their head, where the jump force is focused only on the legs and taking the arm momentum away.
4. Frog Jumps
Purpose: Frog jumps are a plyometric drill that teaches athletes to use their hips for extra explosive power. I helps put together the core, hips and legs so they work together in one powerful motion.
Frog jumps help improve athleticism, jumping ability as well as train you to jump horizontally.
How to do frog jumps:
- In an athletic stance, go down to a squat position.
- From there, jump forward as far as you can using both feet.
- When you land, prepare yourself and jump forward again.
5. Knee Tucks
Purpose: knee tucks help improve jumping ability by helping the jumping with their technique. It also allows them to be aware of the role their core plays in their jump.
How to do the knee tuck exercise:
- Starting from an athletic stance, jump up and tuck your knees up to your chest.
- When you land on the ground, jump back up for another knee tuck.
6. Pogo Jumps
Purpose: Pogo jumps train the lower half of the leg. They train the calves, ankles and toes so that they can still jump high even when you don’t have time to get a full knee bend to jump.
Pogo jumps help develop quickness and the ability to get a good second or third jump.
How to do the pogo jump exercise:
- Stand with your feet close together.
- Without bending your knees, jump up as explosively as you can.
- This will mean the force comes from using your ankles.
- When you land, jump right back up lie you’re on a pogo stick.
- The goal of this plyometric jumping exercise is to spend as little time on the ground between jumps and also ‘hop’ as high as you can each time.
7. Lateral Cone Jumps
Purpose: Lateral cone jumping helps improve lateral (side to side) jumping ability. This helps you not only to jump towards the side but also jump higher.
While frog jumps and broad jumps help train athletes to jump forward, lateral cone jumps do the same for side to side jumps. These two drills along with pogo jumps make you a multi-dimensional jumper where you don’t just jump up.
Equipment needed: cones
How to do the lateral cone jump exercise:
- Line up a few cones into a straight line. You can start with 3 to 5 cones.
- Standing on one end of the line of cones, jump over the first cone to the side.
- When you land, prepare for another jump and jump to the side over another cone.
- Keep jumping sideways until you reach the end of the line.
- Then, jump the other way. If you started from the left to the right, then go from right to left next.
8. Single Leg Squat Jumps
Purpose: individually train each leg to give them both the ability to jump well.
If you use proper fundamental, you probably jump better with the opposite foot. This means right handed players jump higher with the leg foot and the opposite for left handed players.
Single leg jump training helps train the leg that’s not used as much and improve the jumping ability of the other leg. It also helps you take off from either leg and still get good height.
How to do single leg squat jumps:
- Stand on one leg.
- Squat down and explode into your jump.
- Jump as high as you can with the help of your arms, and land as softly as you can.
- After you’ve done all the jumps specified for one leg, do the same number of repetitions for the other leg.
How Often Should You Do Plyometrics?
The issue with plyometric training is that the extra jumping that’s done by the athlete adds up over the course of their athletic career. The force on the knees and ligaments due to jumping and the player’s biomechanics as well as other factors are what cause injuries.
The repeated jumping nature of plyometric exercises is also the reason that is should be somewhat limited by strength training coaches. Adding plyometrics to the athlete who’s already doing a lot of jumping in their drills, practices and games can make them prone to injury.
As effective as plyometric exercises for jumping is the original guidelines specify that:
- do NOT do more than 3 times (sessions) a week.
- Have at least 48 hours between workouts to give time for recovery
- should not be continuously performed all year, and have breaks in between
- sessions should be decreased during the season (this is subjective based on how much training is done)
Are You Using Plyometrics in Your Training?
Now that you know how adding plyometrics to your current training program can help you jump higher you can start adding it to your workouts. Do make sure to keep within the guidelines so you get the best results.
The plyometric exercises should get you started on improving your vertical jump.
If you’re not sure how to put them together for an effective program you may want to have a look at the Vert Shock jump training program, which uses plyometric training to get results. Make sure to read our review of the system here.
Should you prefer something that incorporates both weight training with plyometrics for jumping, go with the Jump Manual whose program infuses both for results.Read our review here to get a better idea of how it works.