Plyometric training exercise: the two-footed landing drop (depth) jump
Boost the power output of your muscles
The drop or depth jump is a ‘plyometric’ exercise. It’s designed like other similar dynamic exercises to boost the power output of your muscles (and in particular their fast twitch fibre). The exercise capitalises on the increased power that it is generated in our muscles when a lengthening (eccentric) muscular contraction, immediately proceeds a shortening (concentric) contraction in the same muscle group. It’s a bit like stretching a spring to its fullest length, then letting it go – immense amounts of energy will be released in the split second that the spring recoils. You get the same high powered response from your muscles when you land from the jump (the eccentric contraction) and spring upward (the concentric contraction).
The two-footed depth jump is a medium intensity plyometric exercise and should be well within the training scope of most relevantly conditioned sportsmen and women. However, if you have ‘problem’ knees, ankles or back then it is best avoided.
Calf and quadriceps and hip flexors.
All sports requiring speed and power, such as football, basketball and football. The two-footed landed exercise depicted is particularly relevant to those in activities that require two-footed jumps for height, such as basketball and volleyball.
How to perform
Look straight ahead. Step forward with one leg, from a suitable height platform* to land with both feet, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Use only a slight knee bend and immediately spring back up into the air for height. Use your arms to assist you by swinging them forward and ‘up’ past your hips, prior to and on, landing.
Height of platform
Drop from a height between 40-100cm: the higher the platform the greater the strength component, the lower, the greater the speed element. Include variations in your workouts to maximise power development.
Make your landings as light and as fast as possible – this is what will maximise the plyometric response. Try not to look for the ground, rather react to it as you hit it. You need to be focused and in the zone to get the most from plyometrics.
After a suitable dynamic warm-up, begin with 2 sets of 6 jumps, taking 30 seconds between jumps and 90 seconds between sets. This lengthy recovery will allow you to complete each jump at maximum intensity.
- Land on two feet and jump for distance, preferably into a sandpit.
- Hop off and hop for height.
- Hop off and hop for distance.
- Perform multiple jumps after landing, for example, 2 hops.
- Run off a suitable platform and do a single or number of jumps or hops.
Workouts can be measured in ground contacts – don’t do more than 50-60 in a session. Don’t perform intense plyometric sessions close to (within 5 days of) important competitions.
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