Adding Plyometrics to Your Program: Final

Updated: November 16, 2017

Level 4: Choosing An Emphasis & Putting It All Together

Plyometrics refers to jump training, which is essential in any strength and conditioning program. The ability to jump is one of the most important skills for an athlete. Training the ability to create and absorb forces from multiple directions is a major factor in injury prevention, and it is also tool to develop speed and power in ways that “weight room” training cannot.

Here, we will look at our fourth and final level, which is “Choosing An Emphasis”. This final decision looks at the degree of sport-specificity desired, the skill level of the athlete, and training space that is available. Below, we will explain how and why we make these decisions in greater detail.

ADDITIONALLY, we will look at how we put all of the information covered in the last three weeks together, AND point out some special considerations when programming plyometrics.

Emphasis: Vertical

“Jumping For Height”


Most of our plyometric programs begin with a vertical emphasis for three major reasons:

(1) A safe and structured landing is much easier in vertical plyometrics by limiting the total amount of movement and “reaching” that occurs.

(2) Most athletes have a better understanding of how to get into the TRIPLE EXTENSION position in a vertical emphasis drill. Click the link to read why triple extension is the fundamental movement for explosive athletes. 

(3) Vertical plyometrics are a more efficient use of space. The adequate space to perform multiple horizontal jumps may not always be available, so you may be forced to program more vertical drills.

Emphasis: Horizontal

“Jumping For Distance”


Horizontal plyometrics not only increase the ability to jump, but they are also extremely effective drills for training acceleration. During the acceleration phase, forces are propelled in horizontal directions. Horizontal plyometrics mimic the same triple extension movement and the same force direction as the drive phase during acceleration. For example, we may mix in some CONTINUOUS LINEAR BOUNDS (HORIZONTAL) in with our sprint drills.

Putting It All Together

We have defined all of the levels of plyometric training with the goal of creating a common language among coaches and athletes. For example, you are a basketball coach and you want your athletes doing plyometric workouts over the summer. You program a COUNTERMOVEMENT LINEAR JUMP (VERTICAL). Without having a common language, all those terms may mean something different to the athletes.

Below is a graphic that we use to progress athletes into a plyometric program that is safe, specific to their sports, and address all of the power characteristics needed to create a healthy and explosive athlete. 


When writing our drills into the program we like to use this format: LAUNCH TYPE – PLANE OF MOTION – TYPE OF JUMP – (EMPHASIS). As you look at the examples below, try to follow along with the graphic above to see how the drills fall into the progressions. 

Example #1 (Basic Progression): Non-Countermovement-Linear-Jump-(Vertical)

Example #2 (Complex Progression): 90° Continuous-Rotational-Bound-(Horizontal)


Special Considerations

Limit Box Jumps

The landing of a jump is just as important as the take-off. Box jumps eliminate the landing, so athletes are training to generate force at a high rate but fail to ever increase their ability to absorb those forces. This is a critical component of injury prevention.

Weighted Plyometrics

We suggest that once an athlete has demonstrated that they can use the correct mechanics, then there may be times to begin adding resistance. Try starting with weighted vests and light resistance bands, then move to medicine ball/dumbbell or barbell resistance.

It’s Power, Not Conditioning

Too many times plyometric training turns into a conditioning workout. It is extremely important to monitor rest times to truly train power! We suggest completing a set every of 30, 45, or 60 seconds depending on the duration on the drill.

Please drop a comment below, share this article, or send us an email. We would love to hear your input!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *