15 Plyometric Exercise You Can Do At Home
With the current state of COVID-19, coaches and personal trainers alike are trying to find remedies to continue to train and exercise with minimal equipment. For our athletes, many of them only have access to bodyweight exercises. The following exercises only require bodyweight and potentially a chair or step for a couple variations. The best place to perform the exercises are outside. Not only will you have more space, but getting some good ole fashioned vitamin D from the sun is a huge additional benefit for the immune system. Watch the video below to see all 15 exercises in action.
Now that you’ve seen all 15 exercises in action, let’s briefly talk about each exercise and what we’d like to see from an execution standpoint. At the end, we’ll provide you some sample workouts you can do that use only these exercises.
The broad jump is an excellent plyometric exercise focused on jumping for distance. Each jump is considered it’s own repetition. We personally like to coach the exercise to walk back to the starting jump position to allow for a minor bit of rest to ensure maximal effort on each jump. Use the hands to help provide momentum to achieve maximal distance. Stick the landing the best you can, and land in a good athletic position.
Reactive Broad Jump
This broad jump variation requires a bit more space than the typical broad jump. The mechanics and execution are the same, but after each jump, the athlete will immediately perform another rep, and usually for distance. Think about jumping as far as you can successively with the least amount of jumps. The goal is to limit the amount of time on the ground on each rep.
Two Way Broad Jump
For this broad jump variation, we’re going to begin with a minor jump backwards. This jump should be about a yard or less. This is called a counter-movement jump, and helps place us in a slightly different starting position, but also eccentricly loading us to have more pop off the ground. Perform this like a typical broad jump, resetting after each rep. Keep in mind, to limit the time you’re on the ground for your counter-movement jump backwards.
Seated Broad Jump
This particular broad jump variation is excellent for developing starting strength and power. It’s slightly more difficult than the standard broad jump, but most of the mechanics are the same. Adjusting the height of the box/chair can make it easier or harder, based upon what the athlete needs or based on their sport. Slightly raise the feet off the ground with a minor lean back, then drive the feet hard into the ground and jump as far as you can.
Kneeling Jump to Broad Jump
This is one of the most advanced broad jump variations that we use. Performing a kneeling jump can be difficult for many youth athletes, but if this is possible, is makes for a great progression to use with the broad jump. The athlete will start from their knees in a tall kneeling position. From here, they will rock their hips back to their ankles, and drive up as hard as they can looking to land on their feet. As soon as the feet have hit the ground, the athlete will perform a max distance broad jump. This not only gets us two explosive movements from the hips, but also limits ground contact time. The initial kneeling jump is a great feedback on how hard an athlete is actually working to get from the ground to their feet.
Now that we’ve covered all of our horizontal jumping, we can look at our vertical jumps. The depth drop is an exercise we like to work on with athletes to develop landing mechanics and how to land in an athletic position. The depth drop can also be used with other jumps, and can be used for an overload stimulus (dropping from a height that an athlete can not actually jump). This is a simple plyometric exercise, but can have huge benefits long term when really mastered. The athlete simply steps off a small box or ledge, and when hitting the ground, emphasizes that the hips stay higher than the knees and the body remains relatively rigid and stiff.
Pogo hops/jumps are great jumping exercises for most athletes. This particular vertical jumping exercise emphasizes minimal ground contact time and develops the calves and achilles stretch-shortening cycle. Typically this is performed for distance, but with minimal space it can be performed for repetitions as well. Focus on jumping mainly from the ankles with a slight knee bend each repetition. Use of the arms is highly emphasized to aid in momentum but also general jumping mechanics. Think about jumping on a pogo stick, but using your legs.
This vertical jump exercise is excellent for beginner youth athletes, but even sees benefits with our older athletes. This skipping variation provides good triple extension on a single leg, but uses momentum to help aid in achieving height. We like to coach this like the athlete is performing a layup in basketball. Each jump should be performed for maximum height, and not to worry about distance covered.
Bodyweight Vertical Jump
This is one of our standard vertical jump exercises we use in conjunction with box jumps. We are simply jumping for maximum height on each repetition, focusing on a good landing position after each rep. The use of the arms is highly encouraged, and athletes should focus on hinging hips back versus bending at the knees. Reset after each jump.
Split Squat Vertical Jump
This is an advanced single leg vertical jumping variation. It has many benefits to develop single leg power, however, it also has prerequisite strength due to being very demanding. The athlete will start in a split stance position, jumping as high as they can pushing off from the lead leg. The athlete will switch legs mid-air, and jump as high as they can again after descending into another split squat. This would be ideal for athletes that already have ample lower body strength and power. We do not recommend this for beginner athletes.
Forward Line Hops
For our next section of jumps, we have line hops. These are simpler plyometrics that can be implemented to decrease ground contact time and work on “quick feet”. This exercise we focus on jumping forward and back over a small line or implement, usually for time or reps. We like forward line hops to help teach kids how to work on basic jumping and landing mechanics while also having to accelerate and decelerate in space. Be sure to emphasize good jumps before speed. Once the mechanics are down, the speed will come with time.
Lateral Line Hops
Just like forward line hops, this exercise is similar but we will be jumping from side to side. Younger athletes generally have a harder time with this variation thant the forward one, as they will try to rush through the exercise quickly, and trip over their own feet. Just like with forward line hops, emphasize the jumping and landing mechanics first, and then the speed will come.
Single Leg Lateral Line Hops
This is a progression from your typical lateral line hops, to using a single leg. Balance will definitely be taxed on this by younger athletes, and even some advanced athletes struggle to own their positioning. As with the rest of the line hops, work first on basic mechanics and owning each position as you jump. As this comes and they get into a rhythm, speed will come naturally. Use this exercise to also tell which leg might need more attention on change of direction deficits.
Bounding is a huge component is many sports, and we love using them here at THIRST. I think lateral bounds are a great progression from single leg line hops, as we are working in the same plane, but working on producing more force from each leg, and landing from that force on the opposite leg. As with the rest of our jumps, focus on sticking the landing on each rep before advancing to more speed and reactive ability. Each jump should be for max distance. Really reach for the landing on the opposite leg as well.
ACL Lateral Hops
This lateral bounding progression is a mix between basically all the jumps we mentioned above. It’s a great hybrid exercise, working in multiple planes and can be used for just about any athlete. The athlete will be trying to jump from one leg to the other, over an invisible fence. We use lines to help emphasize where that “fence” might be. Each jump should be for max height and distance, to get over the “fence” as much as possible. Once this is down, speed can be introduced and moving forward in space. These work much better for distance if possible, but can also be done in place is space is limiting factor.
Sample Plyometric Workouts
A1) Forward Line Hops – 3×20 seconds
B1) Depth Drop – 5×5 *Drill landing mechanics*
C1) Pogo Hops/Jumps – 3×10 yards
D1) Power Skip – 3×20 yards
E1) Lateral Line Hops – 4×10 seconds
A1) Broad Jump – 4×5
B1) Bodyweight Vertical Jump – 3×6
C1) Power Skip – 4×20 yards
D1) Lateral Bounds – 3×5 per side
E1) Forward Line Hops – 3×20 seconds
A1) Seated Broad Jump – 3×5
B1) Split Squat Vertical Jumps – 3×5 per leg
C1) ACL Lateral Hops – 3×10 yards
D1) Pogo Hops/Jumps – 4×15 yards
E1) Single Leg Lateral Line Hops – 3×15 seconds per side
There are an infinite number of plyometric exercises that can be done, and with good sound thinking, they can be implemented to help provide results. While this article was written with COVID-19 in mind, know that these can be done year-round to help you become a better athlete or coach. Just take into consideration where the athlete is in their development, strength, experience, and time of year when implementing these exercises. Hope to see you faster, jumping higher, and dominating on the field/court.
Feeling confused? Have questions? Did we blow your mind with something? Let us know in the comments section.