This Training Technique Will Lift Your Depth Jumps to the Next Level

Build more explosion with this plyometric exercise.

The standard Depth Jump as has been a staple in just about every elite coach's program for decades now. The move involves stepping off an elevated surface (usually a box), landing on the ground, then immediately exploding up into a jump.

Depth Jumps are so valuable because they train the stretch-shortening cycle, a process key for creating power. When you land on the ground off an elevated surface, your muscles absorb the force and turn it into elastic energy. They then transition from absorbing that force into producing energy explosively contracted to propel you upward into a jump. Training this cycle is key for becoming a more explosive athlete. It's very short-lived and must be handled rapidly, which is the exact nature of most sport movements when you think about it.

Once an athlete has mastered the Depth Jump, what comes next? One way would be to apply a method where additional weight is added to the athlete in one way or another. However, you can also add additional countermovement work to the mix. Depth jump countermovement work is not so well-known, and that's what I want to cover here with the Depth Jump to Broad Jump.

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The standard Depth Jump as has been a staple in just about every elite coach's program for decades now. The move involves stepping off an elevated surface (usually a box), landing on the ground, then immediately exploding up into a jump.

Depth Jumps are so valuable because they train the stretch-shortening cycle, a process key for creating power. When you land on the ground off an elevated surface, your muscles absorb the force and turn it into elastic energy. They then transition from absorbing that force into producing energy explosively contracted to propel you upward into a jump. Training this cycle is key for becoming a more explosive athlete. It's very short-lived and must be handled rapidly, which is the exact nature of most sport movements when you think about it.

Once an athlete has mastered the Depth Jump, what comes next? One way would be to apply a method where additional weight is added to the athlete in one way or another. However, you can also add additional countermovement work to the mix. Depth jump countermovement work is not so well-known, and that's what I want to cover here with the Depth Jump to Broad Jump.

What I love about this progression of depth jumping is that it combines both a vertical quad and horizontal hip function into the jump so you cover all of your bases in the sagittal or linear plane of motion. Furthermore, it seems to really manifest more shoulder rotation and drive in athletes. A lack of arm drive when jumping is all too common and truly limits an athlete's ability to maximize their power, height and distance, leaving them exposed and at a competitive disadvantage in competition. Last but not least, the exercise will also be very novel for the athlete at first, helping break up the monotony of performing the same old predictable patterns of jumping. This outcome can help trigger renewed feelings of motivation and excitement and drive up effort for a little bit and show your creativity as a coach.

Here is what the drill looks like, performed by one of our female athletes:

A less advanced version would remove the middle jump, as shown here:

  • Walk off the box and arrive with both feet hitting the ground simultaneously.
  • Land in a quarter-squat position while also minimizing ground contact time.
  • Have your hands pre-stretched or loaded back and then drive them explosively prior to exiting your feet from the ground.
  • Lastly, jump out and up as far as you can and ensure that the the feet "snap back" into your glutes to reinforce maximal hip drive and extension along with a better forward reach of the feet upon landing.

Coaches should be weary of knee valgus collapse on all landings, as it could be a sign the athlete is not prepared for this intensity of plyometric quite yet. If form is good, perform 5-8 jumps for 2-3 sets, resting at least one full minute between working sets.

Photo Credit: NeustockImages/iStock

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Topics: LOWER BODY | PLYOMETRICS | DEPTH JUMP