Q & A: Plyometric workout for basketball reviewed – How to Increase your Vertical for basketball

How do you structure a plyometric training program for basketball? What are the right plyometric exercises to increase your vertical for basketball?

This plyometric training program video review is the answer to a question I have received.

In this video and article, I discuss

Let’s start with a short disclaimer: I don’t know the exact context of the training, many ways lead to Rome, so I can only give my opinion and take you through my thought process.

The information provided

The plyometric training is aimed to increase the vertical for a 16-year-old basketball player.

The plyometric training program looks like the following

  1. 3 Sets of 25 Depth Jumps
  2. 3 Sets of 25 Romanian Split Squats
  3. 3 Sets of 25 Pogo Jump Squats
  4. 3 Sets of 25 Hip Raises
  5. 3 Sets of 25 SL Jump Squats
  6. 3 Sets of 25 Ball Pinch Extensions
  7. 3 Sets of 10 Broad Jumps
  8. 3 Sets of 25 SL Box Jump Ups
  9. 3 Sets of 25 Continuous Squat Jumps

Nine different plyometric exercises with three sets of 25, with the exception of exercise seven, which is three sets of 10 repetitions.

Energy systems

My first question is to think about the energy system, that is required for plyometrics to be successful, which is the ATP-CP system.

I have outlined the different energy systems and how they relate to Plyometrics and Power Training in the article 3 Steps to Develop your own Power Training Method

The ATP-CP system provides energy for a very short period of time with a high amount of energy. If you are performing 25 repetitions, you are not working in the ATP-CP system, from that standpoint, my first question would be why the number of repetitions is so high?

I would much rather advise lower repetitions and if you want to increase volume add more sets.

Training volume

The plyometric training volume seems very high, a total training volume per session of 400 jumps can be considered as extremely high.

It is always difficult to determine exactly how many jumps actually should be done.

There are a few guidelines from Don Chu and Radcliffe, and they advise a total plyometric training volume between 80 – 150 jumps.

I also know that these numbers are debatable, but it gives you a good indication that these 405 jumps are actually ‘quite high’ to ‘very high’.

Let’s have a look at the information this training program does not provide.

The information that is not provided

For a plyometric training to be successful you need to consider a few things.

Plyometric progressions

There is no mention of weekly progressions or monthly progressions. Any good training program needs to be progressive. Progression can come in volume or intensity.

In general, a training program starts with a low intensity and increases in volume, at a later point volume decreases and intensity increases.

Check out How much can Plyometrics increase your Vertical? where I outline the importance of a long-term plan and longer horizon of expectations for plyometrics to increase your vertical.

Training frequency

The next one is the training frequency; how many sessions are supposed to be done in a week or a month? There is no mention of the training frequency.

Check out How often should you do Plyometric Training? where I discuss the training frequency, as well as training intensity and training volume.

Rest periods

Rest periods are very important for plyometrics, and rest periods can be distinguished between

  • intra-serial rest periods
  • inter-serial rest periods
  • rest between the exercises
Intra-serial rest periods

The rest period within the set. For example, if you look at exercise one – the depth jump and exercise no. 8 – the single leg Box jumps, there are intra-serial rest periods, because if you do a depth jumps, you are on an object, jump down with a short contact onto another object. After that, you need to get off that object, walk around and get back onto the object you are jumping off. This is the intra-serial rest period. Whilst if you look at exercise like no. 9 – Continuous squat jumps, there will be no intra-serial rest.

Inter-serial rest periods

The rest between the sets. After the completion of set number one and the initiation of set number two, how many seconds or minutes should you rest?

Also, check out the article How many reps for Plyometrics? where I explain the relation between intra-serial rest periods and inter-serial rest periods on the number of repetition for plyometric exercises.

Rest between the plyo exercises

How long do you need to rest after you have completed three sets of 25 depth jump, when do you start with exercise number two?

Sport-specificity

Basketball is a sport that has a high jump volume, the nature of the sport entails a high number of jumps in the basketball training. These can be maximal effort jumps or sub-maximal effort jumps.

With a plyometric training program for basketball, you need to think about, that the plyometric training program needs to set an additional stimulus.

As an example, if you do 200 jumps in your basketball training for rebounding or layups or whatever you are doing, how much will these additional jumps of your plyometric training program actually do?

You need to think about these jumps, that they need to be either at a higher intensity or you perform jumps that you don’t do in your basketball practice.

Bottom-line, I can’t emphasize that enough think about the additional stimulus that the plyometric program needs to provide, that you don’t already get from your sport-specific training, in this case, the basketball training.

Check out How to Increase Your Vertical Jump for Volleyball – an Interview with Dr Jeremy Sheppard, an in-depth piece with one of the brightest minds in the world of strength & conditioning, where he discusses exactly this principle, of how to make plyometrics work for a sport that already involves a lot of jumping.

Age considerations

Age has to be a consideration, not only because in this example, it is about a 16-year-old male, but also training age is an important consideration for plyometric training programs.

Biological age

With 16 years of age, you are most likely at the end of the pubertal period (if you are normally developed and not an early developer or late developer). Within the pubertal period (between 12 – 16 for males) the body experiences a rapid acceleration of growth, but also rapid deceleration of growth.

That means, that the body in this period, is very susceptible to niggles and small injuries. Consequently, if there is a period during your development, where you need to be careful with training intensity and training volume, it is this period.

During puberty, you need to cut down on volume and intensity to allow the normal adaptations and normal growth process to occur.

Training age

Not only for plyometric training, but the loading also needs to be based on the development, as well as the so-called training age.

If you really want to consider high plyometric volumes like the jump volume in this program, it should be later in the athletic life, if you have a well-adapted athlete and you want to set an additional stimulus by high training volumes, through some shock micro-cycle how some periodisation models would call it. A short period of high training volume with the goal to elicit adaptation.

Concluding the plyometric training program review

The rep ranges of this training program seem to be very high, which will not only utilize the ATP-CP system.

The total training volume seems to very high with 400+ jumps in one plyometric training session.

The program does not provide information on progressions, such as weekly progressions or monthly progressions.

There is no information about the training frequency, how often it needs to be done. And no details with regards to the rest periods, such as intra-serial rest, inter-serial rest or the rest between the exercises.

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