Depth jumps are a variation of the vertical jump often included in plyometric training programs.
This movement trains your legs to absorb force safely while maintaining the body balance and stability.
Required equipment: Plyometric box
HOW TO DO DEPTH JUMPS
- Stand on top of a plyometric box (about 12-18 inches tall) with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
- Position your shoulders directly over your hips and keep your head neutral.
- Tuck your chin (and keep it that way for the rest of the movement).
- Distribute your bodyweight evenly and make sure your feet are firmly planted for stability.
- Keep your arms at your sides and your elbows slightly bent.
- Pretension your hips and shoulders by inhaling and exhaling, and then tighten your core. This is your starting position.
- Step off the box and land forward in a quarter-squat position to prepare for the vertical jump. At this point, the angle of your torso and shin should be the same.
- Upon landing on the floor, your elbows should be slightly bent and your hands should be travelling behind your body.
- In this position, begin your upward jump by pushing your feet explosively through the ground to jump vertically into the air.
- As you straighten your legs while jumping into the air, swing both arms forward.
- When you get to the top of the jump, place your arms above your head, making sure your forearms are in line with the ears and your legs are straight.
- Land on the ground with the balls of your feet and distribute your weight evenly along each foot.
- Allow your knees and hips to bend and absorb the landing force.
- As you land, your weight should be loaded into your heel and midfoot as your toes stay engaged. Make sure your toes are in line with your knees.
- You should also engage your core as you land on the ground.
- Step onto the box and repeat the steps for the desired number of reps.
For the depth jump, you can begin by doing 2-4 sets of 5-8 reps each and increase the number of reps or sets as you get more comfortable with the form.
WHAT MUSCLES DO DEPTH JUMPS WORK?
Depth jumps sweep through your entire lower body, leaving almost no muscle group untouched.
However, the primary points of emphasis for this movement are your quads, hamstrings and glutes. These are the main muscles involved as you jump off the box and into the air.
Your calves too, provide support to your legs during the landing on the ground.
DEPTH JUMPS BENEFITS
LOWER BODY STRENGTH
Depth jumps activate and strengthen most muscle groups in your lower body, including the hamstrings, glutes and quadriceps.
INCREASE YOUR EXPLOSIVE STRENGTH
With practice and using the correct form, depth jumps can increase your explosive strength, reactive strength and your general sports performance.
ALTERNATIVES TO DEPTH JUMPS
Like the depth jump, the kettlebell swing uses explosive strength to produce elastic power within a short period of time.
In addition to your lower body, this movement also works your shoulder and back muscles.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider that hip-width apart.
- Angle out your toes slightly.
- Place a kettlebell on the floor in front of your feet.
- Bend your knees slightly and roll back your shoulders.
- Tighten your core by drawing your belly button in.
- Pressing your hips back, tip your torso forward and reach for the kettlebell handle with both hands.
- Inhale as you grab the handle and roll your shoulders back to help you control the momentum as you are about to swing the kettlebell.
- Exhale, squeeze your glutes and hamstrings and allow the kettlebell swing up to around shoulder height.
- Inhale again and swing it back toward the ground as you press your hips back.
- Allow it to swing between your legs. Your neck should be aligned with your spine.
The squat jump is an equally amazing plyometric exercise that increases your heart rate and strengthens your lower body.
It targets your hamstrings, quads, calves and glutes while also working your core and back muscles.
How to do it:
- Stand on a flat surface with your feet hip-width apart.
- Lower your body into a squat position by bending your knees.
- Keep your chest lifted, spine straight and knees behind your toes.
- Jump explosively into the air and swing your arms over your head.
- Return to the squat position.
DEPTH JUMPS MISTAKES TO AVOID
USING A HIGH BOX
It is generally advisable to use a box that is not lower than 12 inches and not higher than 18 inches.
It you use a box that is too high, you might end up sustaining injuries on your heels or ruining your form.
Similarly, using a too-low box might not get you the results you desire.
SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME ON THE GROUND
When you are performing depth jumps, try to spend as little time as possible on the ground.
Spending a lot of time on the ground will likely interfere with the sequence of the movement and your explosive power might not be as high as it should be when you are jumping into the air.
LANDING WITH YOUR MIDFOOT OR HEEL
Landing on the ground with your midfoot or your heel will likely throw you off balance and send you tumbling to the ground.
Instead, land on the balls of your feet which guarantee more stability.
FAILING TO WARM UP
Depth jumps are a highly explosive exercise that require a lot of energy and muscle/joint mobility to perform.
To get the most out of the movement, you should make sure your muscles are sufficiently activated through warm up exercises.
Depth jumps are a fantastic way to increase your explosive strength to make your muscles produce as much elastic power as possible within a very short time.
It is especially useful to athletes who perform field sports like sprinters and marathon runners.
The only significant drawback of this exercise is that it is meant for advanced athletes who have a lot of experience in the weight room.
It places a lot of pressure on your joints and muscles, and if you do not have enough strength or a good landing technique, you might sustain serious injuries.
But of course, like with every other movement, consistency and practice could certainly give you enough mobility to perfect the depth jump form.