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Training Explosive Speed for Vertical Jump and Athleticism

by | Jul 16, 2020


When building explosive speed, one thing is a necessity: PLYOMETRICS

Here, we are referring to how fast your muscles can contract to produce force.

In other words… ‘muscle speed’.

What is plyometrics?

Plyometrics or “plyos”, are (usually) bodyweight exercises involving different types of jumps.

This training focuses on maximum effort, to develop rapid muscle contraction for explosion.

Without getting too deep into the science, the aim of the game is to take the muscle and its strength and improve the speed at which it functions.

Therefore, when combined with strength training the power behind your muscles is unleashed.

Getting the most out of your workout

Plyometrics training is very unlike other exercises such as weightlifting.

The goal ISN’T for your muscles to be extremely sore at the end of each exercise.

The focus is on maximum force and power in each jump, to build that explosive speed.

Because of this, you should be using a low number of reps for each set and taking sufficient rests.

That way, fatigue won’t become too much of a factor.

To get the most out of your plyometrics training, you want to include exercises involving a variety of movements in all directions.

That way, you improve speed across all muscle groups.

This means jumping upwards, forwards and side-to-side, off both one and two legs.

explosive speed training for athletes

Taking care of your body

Have you ever played basketball after training for days in a row and just felt sluggish, even though your muscles weren’t sore?

This is likely to be because your nervous system is fatigued, even if your muscles aren’t.

Yes… it is perfectly normal for plyometrics to cause some muscle soreness (especially for beginners).

But, it DOES lead to fatigue of the nervous system as it trains your muscles to fire faster.

Because of this, it is best to train plyometrics 2-3 times a week max (depending on experience), to allow for recovery.

Also, if severe pain in a joint or bone is ever felt, you should stop immediately and stop training until it goes away. Consult a doctor if it persists.

Basketball-specific training

Plyometrics can also be used to train sport-specific movements, such as the variety of jumps seen in basketball.

In fact, when you jump off one leg as high as you can to take a layup over a defender, this is a plyometrics exercise in a sense.

(With consistent vertical jump training, you can turn this into a posterizing dunk… sensational)

Plyometrics just takes these movements and focuses on them within a structured workout, with maximum force and power being the priority.


Using range of plyometrics exercises is an extremely effective way to reach a specific athletic goal.

(jumping higher, sprinting faster, etc.)

However, don’t forget to also include the goal itself in your training.

So, if you’re trying to jump higher off two feet, your plyometrics is sure to help a lot.

However, you should also include focused practice of these two foot jumps.

This is important to keep in mind.

Regardless of general muscle speed, each movement involves its own technique which also requires training.


As said before, unlike strength training, it’s better to mix in a wide variety of exercises, rather than focusing on a few.

Try to be creative with your plyometrics and use a variety of exercises to achieve that explosive speed in all directions.



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