There are many sports experts out there that claim you can increase vertical height by using plyometrics alone!
Let?s see why this statement is untrue! There are many studies that prove that plyometrics are not the best way to increase vertical height!
An 8-week study found no significant improvement in long jump performance or vertical jump by 26 college-age subjects who performed depth jumps 2x a week (1).
Another study reported no significant difference in the vertical jump between a group training with an isokinetic leg press and a group training with depth jumps (2).
A study by Clutch concluded that plyometrics exercises (depth jumps of various heights) are no more effective than a regular jumping routine for increasing vertical jump and leg strength (3).
And yet another study showed no significant differences in the 40-yard dash and the vertical jump between a weight training group versus a group using plyometrics (4).
Another study found no significant differences in dynamic leg strength and leg power between a group who only performed maximum vertical jumps (from ground level), and two groups who performed depth jumps from varying heights(5).
And it gets even better, because a couple of other studies concluded that plyometrics have no effect on power development/performance (6,7). Yet another study found no significant differences in the vertical jump, the leg press and peak power of the quads between a group who performed a strength training program and a group who performed a strength training program and plyometrics(8).
But plyometrics might be good for one thing and that is causing sport injuries!
Cook and his coworkers noted the risk of injury associated with plyometrics (9).
Hutchins states that the use of plyometrics exercises is "irresponsible" (10). The most common plyometrics related injuries are patellar tendonitis (11,12) and stress fractures (11). Many others have questioned the safety of plyometrics.
Having said that, you can see why, plyometrics are not the best way to increase vertical height! There is absolutely no scientific basis to it- the scientific evidence proves it to bee harmful and not beneficial.
At best you can be injured if you do not have the necessary strength base! Having said that, it is imperative to develop a foundation of strength with strength/ weight training program before using plyometrics!
Plyometrics should be performed only if your body is strong enough to handle it.
Here are a few studies that prove that a plyometrics training system in combination with a strength training program can give you good results
In an issue of the Penn State Sports Medicine Newsletter there are numerous studies that prove this point!
One was of Finnish volleyball players (whose jump skills were already very good) who added plyometrics to their normal weight training. They saw an increase in vertical leap of 11 . There was also a description of a study done at the Human Performance Lab at Oregon State that compared plyometrics (jumps onto a box, double leg hops and split squat jumps) and squatting twice per week to one or the other. The squat only group increase vertical leap 3.30 centimeters. Plyometrics only showed a 3.81 cm increase and the combination training increased 10.67 cm which is a big difference.
My issue with plyometrics is that it has not been studied enough for the average person to take up this kind of workout. The height that people jump from has to be exact, the technique at which the land has to be as near perfect as possible, the coach has to really know what they are doing. If you are doing it from a book, then stay well away from plyometrics. If you have a qualified coach who has done this kind training and really knows there stuff, then go for it.
1) Scoles, G. 1978. Depth jumping! Does it really work? "Athletic Journal" 58 (January):48-50,74-76. 2) Blattner, S., and L. Noble. 1979. Relative effects of isokinetic and plyometric training on vertical jumping performance. "Research Quarterly" 50 (4):583-588. 3) Clutch, D., M. Wilton, C. McGown and G.R. Bryce. 1983. The effect of depth jumps and weight training on leg strength and vertical jump. "Research Quarterly" 54:5-10. 4) Ford Jr, H. T., J.R. Puckett, J.P. Drummond, K.Sawyer, K.Gantt and C.Fussell. 1983. Effects of three combinations of plyometric and weight training programs on selected physical fitness test items. "Perceptual and Motor Skills" 56:919-922. 5) Blakey, J. B., and D.Southard. 1987. The combined effects of weight training and plyometrics on dynamic leg strength and leg power. "Journal of Applied Sport Science Research" 1(1):14-16. 6) Durak, E. 1987. Physical performance responses to muscle lengthening and weight training exercises in young women. "Journal of Applied Sport Science Research" 1(3):60. 7) Christenson, D., and S. Melville. 1988. The effects of depth jumps on university football players. "Journal of Applied Sport Science Research" 2(3):54. 8) Kramer, J. F., A. Morrow and A. Leger. 1993. Changes in rowing ergometer, weight lifting, vertical jump and isokinetic performance in response to standard and standard plus plyometric training programs. "International Journal of Sports Medicine" 14:449-454. 9) Cook, S.D., G. Schultz, M. L. Omey, M. W. Wolfe and M. F. Brunet. 1993. Development of lower leg strength and flexibility with the strength show. "The American Journal of Sports Medicine" 21:445-448. 10) Hutchins, K. 1992. "Super Slow: The ultimate exercise protocol." 2d ed. Casselberry, FL:Super Slow Systems. 11) Wikgren, S. 1988. The plyometrics debate. "Coaching Women's Basketball" 1 (May/June):10-13. 12) Horrigan, J., and D. Shaw. 1990. Plyometrics: The dangers of depth jumps. "High Intensity Training Newsletter 2(4):15-21.
Short note about the author
Rob Maraby is the author of 25 fitness books , his latest book is the fast abs program- a simple way to get six pack abs in just 4 minutes using nothing but your couch, check it out at http://www.mindnmuscle.com.
Author: Rob Maraby