9 Important Plyometric Exercises Top Basketball Trainers Swear By
Many basketball players make the mistake of trying to improve their athleticism with plyometrics alone. However, training should start with movement efficiency and coordination, then strength and force production. Once these factors are nailed down, you're ready to move onto plyometric training.
Plyometrics involve both muscles and tendons, incorporating quick ground contact, producing varying degrees of reactive power and explosive speed. These aspects are essential if you intend on keeping a competitive edge in basketball.
Plyometrics involve jumping and therefore contribute to an increased jump height, as well improved durability through the lower body.
When incorporating plyometric exercises into training, it is important to appreciate proper technique and progression in order to maximize their effectiveness. If you're just starting out with plyometrics, start small. Ease yourself into the training and avoid doing too much, too soon.
With that in mind, here are the 9 essential plyometric exercises top trainers swear by.
As with any workout, it's important to begin with a proper and complete warm-up before performing plyometrics. You may experience an increased risk of injury if not.
1. Double Leg Backward / Forward Hops
This plyometric movement continues to challenge the calf and ankle while they interact with the ground. Further, stabilizing the knee with quadricep involvement. With this exercise, you want to ensure that you're actively pulling the toes up and getting off the ground as quickly as possible. Pre-tensioning the muscles along the shin and in the foot, creates spring-like stiffness.
2. Side to Side Hops
These are quick jumps that incorporate lateral movement and prepare the ankle for the aggressive actions and changes in direction needed to both drive and defend.
3. Single Leg Squat Jumps with a Pause
An excellent exercise to start to manage and produce force. Showing control and ability to stabilize the knee by engaging the hip and maintaining proper foot pressure. Use the arms to generate more force, and assist with balance.
4. Alternating Step Up Jumps
The alternating step up jumps emphasize the ability to drive down into the ground and generate force vertically. This is crucial in the game of basketball. In this exercise, both the hip and knee are challenged to generate power to jump. The higher the step, the greater involvement of the hip and upper leg in generating force, but the lower the step, the quicker the contact and greater emphasis on the lower leg.
5. Single Leg Rotational Hops
These Rotational hops offer a plyometric exercise, using one leg, while rotating in each direction. They are a great starting point that helps develop proprioception, as well as an endurance component for playing and practicing for extended periods.
Throughout this exercise, ensure you remain stiff through the ankle, minimizing the time you spend on the ground prior to takeoff.
6. Single Leg Medial Hops
This exercise showcases the athlete's ability to generate force with the outside foot. Helping improve and create a strong and powerful first step action is vital for both defense and offense. In addition, the reactive landing further strengthens and stabilizes the ankle.
Skaters are a good lateral exercise, improving force production and developing motor control. It works by loading the right and left leg individually. Ideally, you want to cover as much ground as you can and jump as high as you can. It doesn't necessarily matter how quickly you get off the ground. Although, you will want to use your arms and legs together to send your body into the air. Once you get comfortable with the exercise you can aim for quick ground contact time.
8. 180 Degree Jumps
180 Degree Jumps challenge your ability to move in the air and land under control, coordinating force management and production with rotation.
In this exercise, you want to try to jump as high as you can. While doing this, you also want to ensure you maintain proper mechanics. Stay true to the movement principles that will transfer to the court – posture and control.
9. Single Leg Bounding
The Single Leg Bounding exercise contributes to explosiveness and jump height in the game of basketball. During the movement, aim to minimize your contact with the ground, and maximize how high and how long you're in the air. This is an advanced exercise that requires a good amount of strength and proficiency with double leg jumps first.
The 12 Week Athletic Development Program for Basketball Players outlines where to start and build from the ground up. If you want to improve your basketball speed and jumping ability, this plan takes you through a step-by-step process, starting with your foundations.