T Nation

Drop/Shock Jumps


So how often and at what volume can you perform them without doing too much? I know that with plyos there is a fine line between doing enough and doing too much and it is easy to over-do it. I'm thinking that I can do these more often than say depth jumps because they are not as taxing on the joints and nervous system.

These are the only kind of plyos I'm doing right now because my reactive strength sucks. Once I get it up to par, I will move on to depth jumps. I have been performing 6 sets of 5 twice a week and 6x3 of single leg drop jumps from a very low box once a week. I don't think this is too much at all considering I'm not doing anything else in the way of plyos and I'm wondering how much more I could do.


depth jumps will not be significantly taxing on your nervous system/joints etc unless you perform them with moderate to high intensity (ie high boxes). since it sounds like you are just beginning some plyometric training, just start doing depth jumps from a small box height (less than 12 inches). work on speed off the floor and technique. with low boxes you can put in some higher volume.

keep in mind that current body fat levels, strength levels, and injury history all affect relative plyometric intensity. so if you are morbidly obese or have two knee replacements, depth jumps from say a 6-12 inch box will be fine :slightly_smiling:

i don't really adhere to any of those cscs numbers, so i can't give you a definitive volume to start out with.

just start out with say, 3x5 on the depth jumps, and make adjustments depending on how your body is feeling. if you do depth jumps from a ~6" box, you will feel fine. use 15 seconds in between each jump, and full recovery in between sets. when you start getting above 12", thats when you need to sart becoming much more careful.

i personally don't see much of a point in depth drops at beginner level, many people disagree with me on this. it's like throwing in heavy negatives into a strength routine for someone who is just starting out.

also i don't get why you would do single leg drop jumps at this point. you will be spending way too much time on the ground. at lower box heights these are still moderately intense.

do you do any agility ladder work? if not, might be good to throw that in there. (btw, you don't need the ladder for this stuff, chalk or a line will do)

here's my little single leg agility progression: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMH2Jf4SdRE

here's my double leg stomp progression (i think they are great for improving depth jumps): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpE3KfojJtA

you can get in tons of reps on the ladders to help improve your reactive ability.

hope that helps.

keep in mind, the shock method originally called for say 2-3 weeks, 3 days per week, of 40 minute depth jump workouts, 40 jumps per session, from optimal box height (say 18-40"), with no other accessory lifting (no squats etc). this was done in ELITE athletes.



Thanks for the info. I should have clarified in my first post that I've done plenty of plyos before and am far from a beginner. The reason I'm performing the drop jumps is because my ability to absorb force has turned into crap. I've become very strength dominant and my reflexive (or reactive) strength is very poor, so I'm doing the drop jumps to re-teach myself to absorb force before I move on to actual depth jumps. I recently tested myself and I am able to jump higher with a paused vertical jump than I am with a depth jump from any height.

The single leg ones I've been doing are off a stair step and the regular ones have been off the tailgate of my truck (my gym doesn't have any boxes). I started out off of lower objects and have been working my way up, making sure that I'm still able to land very quitely without letting my heels touch the ground.

I've done tons of agility ladder work for football before and am actually very proficient at it. That would lead me to believe I could absorb force better than I can but unfortunately that's not the case.



just a few opinions on my behalf...

with plyometrics, it's impossible to be far from beginner and not be able to jump as high or higher than your standing vertical jump, when dropping from box heights of say 12-18".... because that is failing to achieve the basic concept of plyometrics.

this is paraphrased from jumping into plyometrics:
determining depth jump height:
1. athlete is measured as accurately as possible for standing jump and reach
2. athlete performs a depth jump from an 18 inch box, trying to obtain the same jump & reach score
3. if the athlete successfully achieves the task, box height may be increased. box height should be increased by 6 inch measurements. step 2 is repeated until the athlete is unable to obtain the standing jump and reach height, this box then becomes the maximum depth drop height.
4. if the athlete cannot reach the standing jump and reach height from an 18 inch box, either lower the box height or abandon depth jumps in favor of strength training.

in every case i've seen, clients who couldn't reach their standing vert after dropping from a box had these issues:
- extreme coordination issues, poor ability to maintain center of gravity
- lack of unilateral strength, poor performance on db stepups, db reverse lunges, db SL squat variations etc
- unfavorable body composition
- unfavorable conditioning (GPP)
- weak ankle joints (unable to maintain dorsi flexion during various agilities/sprint work, and stay on the ball of the foot)

i'm not saying ANY of that pertains to you, i'm just telling you what i've seen. maybe it will help, who knows.

what i've seen that helps alleviate those problems include:
- improving general agilities & "agility"
- improving single leg agilities
- improving body composition
- improving unilateral strength
- introducing low level plyometric exercises (variations of mini reactive hops, double leg, on to 3-6" boxes)
- introducing low-level (~6" box) depth jumps over small hurdles
- emphasizing ankle locking (dorsiflexion) mechanics, speed, and relaxation for pretty much everything just mentioned

also, i've never seen anyone proficient at the agility exercises i prescribe, be unable to perform reactive exercises at a moderate to high level of ability.

as far as single leg depth jumps go, they are almost pointless if you are unable to perform proper high intensity double leg depth jumps. this is because the movement will become one of strength, not reactive ability. the amortization phase on the ground will be far beyond that which is necessary to induce proper neuromuscular / physiological changes in the body.

when it comes to single leg plyometrics, something that involves consecutive single leg hops would be much more appropriate. here, the body can utilize reflexes (cross flexion / extension) to produce greater power, while still overloading the single leg tremendously.

here is a very high intensity variation:

performing that at lower intensity (while still providing benefit), would just require changing the cone distances (making them much smaller), or doing it without cones and not going for max effort.

i wouldn't do that though unless you're drop jumping properly, and single leg (strength/agility) is at an appropriate level..

anyway, i type too much



Thanks alot, that last post really helped me. The reason I was performing the drop jumps before doing depth jumps was because I read somewhere (can't remember where) that if you can't get higher on a depth jump than a regular standing jump you should perform low level drop jumps until you are able to absorb the force properly to get higher.

I'm a little interested as to how the lack of unilateral strength would affect all this. That's not an issue with me but I'm wondering why that would affect plyometric ability.

I do think that ankle strength is an issue with me. I have sprained both ankles numerous times, some of them very badly. I have had problems with them for years. What type of exercises do you usually reccommend for this? I've been doing dorsiflexion exercises and inversion/eversion using bands.


the only things i have been able to come up with, based on poor unilateral strength and poor plyometric ability, is that from what I have seen, individuals with poor unilateral strength usually have poor coordination starting from the ground up in these movements: ankle, knee, hip, abs. When you see them performing these movements, you see the compensatory sway to balance their center of gravity etc. I also see the knee caving in medially & absolutely no power in eversion/inversion of the ankle to rapidly stabilize that joint (it almost looks dead).

i can only guess, that these little components lead to wasted energy, inhibition because of weakness or instability, and less than optimal motor programs / CNS development which leads to greater contact time on the ground.

but im only guessing.. just my thoughts.

as for ankle stability, the stuff you're doing is good already (inversion/eversion) and dorsiflexion exercises. i basically consider this the first stage in strengthening the ankles.

second stage would be dynamic strength. i tried finding a video on youtube, couldn't find one. i call these "ankle" reaches, alot of people do them. You stand on one foot, then you reach with the other foot forward, to the right, to the left, backwards. This will force your ankle to stabilize your COG. You can then do these by reaching with the other leg, then externally rotating that hip. Tons of other variations, you can just get creative with it. Do them slow and controlled, eventually build up speed, anything you can think of. This is one of those "functional training exercises" -- whatever, just do it as prehab. Do it for time, forget reps, ie: 30 seconds, minute, etc.

stage three would be power. For this, all of those single leg agilities, at very high speed, will help strengthen your ankles big time. Your ankle will be subjected to much higher forces. Your ankle will be forced to stabilize your COG very rapidly.



I like Adarqui's advice, but I would consider even his stage 3 just the beginning of the process as far as builing coordination and ankle strength. The problem with all of the methods he listed is lack of impact force.

Once you feel competent performing the exercises Adarqui has listed already, I would work into movements involving higher impact forces and speeds. As you master one exercise in the progression below, move on to the next phase. My progression would look something like this:

1) Single leg lateral hops over a line. This is pretty basic. Draw a line on the ground, stand on one foot, and hop back and forth over the line as quickly as possible. Keep on the ball of your foot. I'd probably go for 20-30 repetitions per set (1 rep = over and back). Here's a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNQX3J_6OdE

2) Lateral quadrant hops. The forces encountered here are slightly higher than before. Again, do 20-30 reps per set. A video: http://www.inno-sport.net/Speed-Endurance/Video/RFI%20Lateral%20Jumps.avi

3) Single leg lateral box hops. Just like stage one, but on to and off of a box. Start low with the box and work up the height to around 6-9". These can be done in two ways to emphasize ankle strength and coordination from both directions. Reps should be 15-25 on these. Video 1: http://www.inno-sport.net/Speed-Endurance/Video/RFI%20Hip%20Abduction%20Jumps.AVI
Video 2: http://www.inno-sport.net/Speed-Endurance/Video/RFI%20Hip%20Adduction%20Jumps.AVI

4) Single leg lateral shock jumps. Just like it sounds. Step off of a box sideways and land on one foot. These can be done from two directions to train ankle strength and coordination from both directions. Start on a low box and work up as your abilities allow. Only use 3 reps per leg on these. Sorry, but no videos for these.

Once you've mastered this progression your ankle problems should be a thing of the past. Good luck, and let me know how things go.


sup rj good post.

btw, my stage 3 is your stage 1 (of your advanced progression).. just have alot more variety.. single leg lateral hops over lines, in ladders, and their variations are incredible exercises.. not only are they good for ankle/knee/hip/abs stability, they are good for power, coordination, and strength.

here's more variations of your stage 1 advanced progression.. you might like them: (i pasted these earlier in the thread)

anyway, the rest of your exercises you listed are great. ankle problems should definitely be helped after performing basic / advanced progression.