A strong vertical can give you an edge in a few sports and athletes are actively looking for training methods to increase their vertical.
Consequently, the question arises ‘How much can Plyometrics increase your Vertical?’
Is it worth investing your time in plyometric training and what return will you see for the time and effort invested?
This video and article discuss
- How much can plyometrics increase your Vertical
- What is the secret sauce to increase your vertical with plyometrics
- How much of an increase in your vertical can you expect
How much can Plyometrics increase your Vertical? A question of time
As with most things in life, things take time. The same is true for training and especially strength training and plyometric training.
What happens in most cases, people enter a new training period highly excited and expect big results. After a few weeks training has taken its toll, motivation is not the same anymore and progress is rather slow.
The problem is, that people look at time frames of 3 or 4 weeks. In order to see the results of your efforts you need to look at a longer time frame, like 10 or 12 weeks.
And ideally, these 10 or 12 weeks are planned in advance and entail changes in training intensity and training volume in order to get results.
Training that target the neuromuscular system, such as strength training and plyometric training take more time until you can see the benefits from your training efforts.
A good time horizon to start with is 10 – 12 weeks, divided into 3 different training phases of 3 – 4 weeks.
For more information on the concept of planning have a look at the articles
- How to begin Strength Training in 5 steps
- 8 Simple Steps To Figure Out How Often Should Strength Training Occur
How much can Plyometrics increase your Vertical? How strong are you?
An important factor in the plyometric equation is your strength levels.
I know this topic has to be treated with care, as there are a lot of conflicting information and opinions going around.
Conflicting information number 1: You have heard or read you need to be able to squat two times your body weight before you engage in plyometric training.
Well, that would disqualify the majority of people from doing plyometric training.
This information and guideline comes from early recommendations on plyometric training and is based on the idea, that plyometric training involving high impact and stretch-loads should only be done if the body is prepared to absorb these loads.
Looking at the definition of plyometric training as I have outlined it in the article What Is Plyometric Training? shows that plyometric training can be defined as ‘Plyometrics or Plyometric Training is a training that involves the stretch-shortening cycle as a means to improve speed and power.’
This definition shows, that plyometric training involves a stretch-shortening cycle and is a means to increase speed and power.
Plyometric training with a high impact is just one form of plyometric training and should be used once athletes have progressed through plyometric progressions enabling them to do high impact plyometrics.
Conflicting information number 2: You have seen someone or someone told you there is someone who jumps higher, faster and whatsoever than anyone else and he has never touched a weight in his life or his strength levels aren’t really impressive.
This argument usually requires a bit of a deeper analysis and more nuanced discussion.
I have also had athletes and still have athletes, that are by far the most explosive, but definitely not the strongest in the group.
But, there is a big but to it, if you look at their strength levels, they are also not that bad. From the top of my head, I can think of two athletes, that are really explosive and are not the strongest compared to their peers or teammates.
One had a Back Squat 1 RM of 145 kg at a body weight of 82 kg and the other one has a Back Squat 1 RM of 132.5 kg at a body weight of 74 kg, if we look at the numbers, we can see
|Athlete||Back Squat (1 RM)||Bodyweight||Ratio (Back Squat to Bodyweight)|
|Athlete 1||145 kg||82 kg||1.76|
|Athlete 2||132.5 kg||74 kg||1.79|
Looking deeper into the numbers you can see, even though the guys are not the strongest in their group, but they are definitely not weak or are not strong at all.
If you check out the numbers and benchmarks I have outlined in the article The Fundamentals of the Back Squat you can see how they stack up. They are basically at the lower end of what I consider as ‘good’.
So, what about the guys, that never touched a weight and can jump like crazy?
I have seen that myself, my answer (based on experience) is, that there are always exceptions to the rule and these guys are much rather the exception than the rule.
I have seen firsthand athletes that have incredible physical traits, they can jump like crazy, they get stronger week after week, they grow more muscles than others. That’s just how it is, there are some very special genetically gifted specimen out there.
Bottom-line: There are exceptions to the rule, but for the majority of athletes strength levels affect your vertical and an increase in strength levels will result in an increase in your vertical.
How much can Plyometrics increase your Vertical? A question of muscle fiber type?
Have you heard about ‘responders’ and ‘non-responders’?
The basic idea behind responders and non-responders is, that responders respond to a given stimulus, while non-responders don’t respond.
A typical example is the supplementation of Creatine, some people respond and see increased results in training, others don’t respond and see no results.
The same idea exists about plyometric training, some athletes respond to plyometrics, while others don’t.
In my opinion, the difference between responders and non-responders with regards to plyometric training is the muscle fiber type distribution.
More information on muscle fiber types in the article Why understanding the Mechanics Behind Plyometric Training will make you jump like Michael Jordan
Basically, athletes who are more fast-twitch dominant tend to respond better to plyometric training than athletes who tend to be more slow-twitch or intermediate fiber dominant.
This might seem like a bit of a simplistic approach, but I have seen that to be true over and over again.
However, what I have also seen over and over again, the athletes that put in the work day in and day out have increased their vertical over the years regardless of muscle fibers types and genetics.
Bottom-line, there is no excuse for not putting the work in.
How much can Plyometrics increase your Vertical? A definite answer.
Based on the information above, I am not able to give a definite answer to ‘How much can plyometrics increase your vertical?’
As you can see, there are a lot of variables in the equation. Some of those you can influence, such as program design and strength level others you can’t influence, such as the muscle fiber type distribution.
From my experience, athletes that are interested in increasing their vertical usually participate in a sport where they already jump a lot.
Sounds like a no-brainer, but my point is, if you are a basketball player or volleyball player and you simply add plyometrics to the mix, you might end up doing yourself a disservice.
What I really want to say, training forms and methods targeted to improve or increase neural activation, and plyometrics is one of those are very sensitive to training volume as well as very sensitive to doing too much.
A ‘more is better approach’ can have a very detrimental effect on speed development and power development.
Once you are neurologically fatigued and worn out, it will take you a long time to recover from this.
Back to the point of including plyometric training for sports that already have a high volume in jumping, such as Basketball or Volleyball.
Careful planning and structuring of plyometric training becomes more and more important and might also result in you have to take a few of the sport-specific training a bit lighter to put some extra focus into the dedicated plyometric training.
Concluding How much can Plyometrics increase your Vertical
How much can plyometrics increase your vertical depends on a number of factors.
You need to have a goal and a realistic time horizon for when you want to achieve a certain result and then have a solid plan / plyometric training plan how to achieve this goal.
Strength levels are important for plyometric training success if your strength levels are lacking the plyometric training won’t do much for you.
Depending on muscle fiber distribution some athletes are progressing more and faster than others, but everyone who puts the work in will improve.
More information on Plyometric Training
For more information read the article or visit the plyometric training video library