A Scientific Plyometric Training Program

A Scientific Plyometric Training Program

Plyometric or “jump training” is commonly performed by athletes to improve their strength and power. Plyometrics typically involve explosive jumps (lower body) and/ or medicine ball throws and explosive push-ups (upper body). Should you add plyometrics to your exercise program?


5 Benefits of Plyometrics:

1. Increase Your Vertical:

Maybe not surprisingly plyometric training (or jump training) has been shown to increase verticals. A meta analysis that looked at 26 studies found that plyometric training increases vertical jumps by between 4.7% and 8.7%. Another meta analysis found that a higher intensity plyometric training program (at least 50 jumps per session) worked better than lower intensity programs. Using a combination of jumps like squat jumps, drop jumps and countermovement jumps was most effective. Yet another study found that a 7 week plyometric training program increased verticals by 3.81 centimeters, a squat program increased verticals by 3.30 centimeters, but plyometric and squat training increased verticals by 10.67 centimeters.


2. Improve Your Athletic Performance:

Plyometric training improves a variety of sports specific skills. One study found that collegiate baseball players who did 6 upper body plyometric exercises 2x a week for 8 weeks improved their pitching speed from an average of 83.15 mph to 85.15 mph. Another study found that lower body plyometric training significantly improved kicking speed in female soccer players. Participants performed jumps over hurdles, drop jumps and horizontal jumps 3x a week for 12 weeks in that study.


3. Improve Your Agility:

Another study divided participants into a 6 week plyometrics program and a control group. The researchers found that the plyometrics group decreased their time on all 3 agility tests measured by between 2.93% and 10%. The plyometric exercises used in the study included vertical, lateral and horizontal jumps (see below).

Plyometric program


4. Improve Your Sprint Times:

A meta analysis found that plyometrics can also significantly improve sprint times. The researchers found that the most successful programs lasted for more than 10 weeks, for a minimum of 15 sessions, included more than 80 jumps per session and included horizontal jumps. Adding weights added no additional benefit.


5. Improve Your Distance Running:

One study had participants either continue their normal running training or add plyometrics to their running training over a 6 week period. The researchers found that the plyometrics group improved their 3 km run time by 2.7%. Running economy was also improved.


A Scientific Plyometric Program:

Considering that there aren’t many plyometric classes out there, how should you structure a plyometric program? Here’s what the studies say:



Plyometrics improves your vertical, athletic performance, agility, sprint times and distance running. An example of a plyometric program to improve your vertical would be 3 sets of 10 drop jumps, 3 sets of 10 squat jumps and 3 sets of 10 countermovement jumps 2x a week. Good luck!



Adams, Kent, et al. “The Effect of Six Weeks of Squat, Plyometric and Squat-Plyometric Training on Power Production.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 6.1 (1992): 36-41.

Alemdaroğlu, Utku, et al. “The effect of exercise order incorporating plyometric and resistance training on isokinetic leg strength and vertical jump performance: A comparative study.” Isokinetics and Exercise Science 21.3 (2013): 211-217.

Campo, Silvia Sedano, et al. “Effects of lower-limb plyometric training on body composition, explosive strength, and kicking speed in female soccer players.”The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 23.6 (2009): 1714-1722.

Carter, Andrew B., et al. “Effects of high volume upper extremity plyometric training on throwing velocity and functional strength ratios of the shoulder rotators in collegiate baseball players.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 21.1 (2007): 208-215.

de Villarreal, Eduardo Sáez, Bernardo Requena, and John B. Cronin. “The effects of plyometric training on sprint performance: a meta-analysis.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 26.2 (2012): 575-584.

de Villarreal, Eduardo Saéz-Saez, et al. “Determining variables of plyometric training for improving vertical jump height performance: a meta-analysis.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 23.2 (2009): 495-506.

Markovic, Goran. “Does plyometric training improve vertical jump height? A meta-analytical review.” British journal of sports medicine 41.6 (2007): 349-355.

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Spurrs, Robert W., Aron J. Murphy, and Mark L. Watsford. “The effect of plyometric training on distance running performance.” European journal of applied physiology 89.1 (2003): 1-7.