can help improve your vertical jump and muscle strength, as well as protect your joints.

Plyometric exercises typically involve jumping from various positions, heights, and angles—like jumping from a squat position; side to side; with one leg; or onto and off a large, tall (18” or taller) box. Examples of non-jumping plyometric exercises include explosive push-ups—which require you push your body up with enough force to lift your hands from the ground—medicine ball passes, and splits.

Plyometric exercises require you to move rapidly and explosively. Your muscles must quickly shift from the concentric contraction—which tenses and shortens the muscles—to the eccentric contraction—which lengthens the muscles. Less time between contractions —jumping and landing—results in greater power behind your jump, thus allowing you to jump higher. (Too much time reduces the force and speed gained from the muscle stretch.)

These high-intensity exercises are safe and appropriate for both children and adults, but they may pose a risk for people who have bone or joint issues, or who are out of shape. Plyometric training for children should be supervised by a coach and modified for soft landings to prevent injury.