Plyometric Depth Jumps

Plyometric Depth Jumps

In this lesson you will learn a basic depth jump where you stop in a ready position (half squat) - without rebound. The depth jump is a reactive strength exercise for the thighs and the calf muscles. This exercise can help increase your vertical leap. Click Here, to learn more about plyometrics (reactive strength training). Find more exercises at track & field main.

Description: Plyometric Depth Jumps

  • Stand on a box (close to the edge) and look straight forward. Keep your back straight and contract your abs slightly. Then extend the left leg in front of your right leg (see illustration above) and flex the left ankle. The hands are in front of the chest. The box should be between 30 cm and 1 m high. More advanced athletes can jump from a higher box. However, 1 m is very high and some people think that depth jumps should never be done from that high. Only do this exercise with good shoes and don't jump onto an uneven surface.
  • Hop off the box and close your legs while falling down. Flex your ankles and keep your trunk pretty upright. Don't bend your upper body down. (keep your abs tight) Move your hands back and get ready for the landing. Remain your ankles flexed until shortly before you land. You will extend your ankles a little, and push the balls of your feet into the floor, shortly before you land. If you would keep your ankles flexed, you would injure your heels, your knees, your hips and your back when you land. If you extend you ankles too much and too early, you would make the entire exercise useless and at the same time it would still be bad for your knees.
  • You are supposed to land the depth jump flat on the sole of the foot. But actually you have to extend your ankles shortly before you land. This way you drive the balls of your feet into the floor, fractions of a second before your heels touch the ground. However, it should look like you landed on the flat foot. Don't extend your ankles too early. Don't extend too late. At the beginning the right timing can be difficult. That's why I always recommend to jump from a small box onto a judo mat or grass - if you you never did depth jumps before.
  • Land soft and make sure you don't whip your upper body down when you land. Exhale at the same time. Keep you abs tight and bring your arms to a position from where you could jump off again immediately. The legs are slightly bent (half squat) and the back is straight. Then step back onto the box and do another repetition.

Trainer advice: Plyometric Depth Jumps

  • Warm up your knees and your ankles before you do depth jumps.
  • Don't do this exercise with extra weight on your back (for example a barbell).
  • I recommend you do 6 to 15 repetitions and 2 or 3 sets per plyometric workout.
  • Don't land on your heels.
    Don't extend your ankles too early.
    Don't extend your ankles too late.
    Jump from a small box onto a judo mat or grass at the beginning.
  • Don't whip your upper body forward down when you land. Keep your abs tight and your upper body pretty upright. Look straight forward.
  • Inhale when you extend your left leg standing on the box. Exhale when you land.
  • Land on both feet at the same time.
  • You can alternate de leg you are extending when you jump off the box.

Videos: Plyometric Depth Jumps

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