Physical therapists often work with athletes to improve their strength while avoiding injury. Sometimes this includes jump training, also known as plyometrics, to increase athletic performance – for example, to run faster or to jump higher.
The purpose of plyometric exercise is to increase the power of subsequent movements by using both the natural elastic components of muscles and tendons and the stretch reflex. The experts at Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy, a Physiquality member with locations throughout Arizona, call this explosive power.
Lower body plyometrics are appropriate for virtually any athlete and any sport because most sports require athletes to have quick bursts of energy to run down a field or toward a ball. Upper body plyometrics exercises are often used for specific sports like baseball, tennis, and other throwing sports, and they are not used as frequently as those for the lower body.
Our experts suggest several different exercises to improve both strength and performance. For the lower body, these include:
- Speed skaters
- Repetitive jumping on the floor (i.e., in place, forward/backward, side to side, etc.)
- Switch jumps
- Vertical jumps
- Box jumping or jumping over objects on the floor
- Power skips
Upper body exercises include:
- Catching and throwing a weighted ball with a partner or against a wall
- Throwing overhead or from side to side (with two hands or one)
- Dribbling a ball against the wall or floor
- Drop push-ups and clap push-ups
Because so many of these exercises involve jumping or shifting your weight, it is important to pay attention to your form. The experts at Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy note that good technique and balance are essential in order to stay safe doing such exercises. They recommend watching videos to learn technique and starting slowly to practice the movement. In addition, they note, combining jump training with strength training will maximize your efforts to become a stronger and more powerful athlete.
Want to work with a physical therapist to boost your sports performance? Use our locator below to find a Physiquality physical therapist near you.
Thank you to our contributors:
Physiquality member Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy has several clinic locations in Arizona. Providers of physical therapy for more than 20 years, their PTs and PTAs deliver hands-on physical therapy with integrity and accountability, ensuring the best possible patient results.
Gilmore, Wayne. Jumping back in: Plyometrics for strength and performance. Evolution Physical Therapy, July 24, 2020.
Evolution Physical Therapy and Fitness. Plyometrics and rehabilitation exercises for sports performance playlist. YouTube.com.
Brocker, Jordan. Jump training: How to increase your vertical. Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy, March 13, 2019.
National Council on Strength and Fitness. Power skips. YouTube.com, April 4, 2016.
Fyzio Gym and the Revolution in Physical Therapy. Box drop push-ups. YouTube.com, January 12, 2016.