Nine Weeks Jump Program
This is a great 9 weeks jumping training session. Follow it carefully to get real results. Always take 60-90 seconds minimum of rest between sets.
Weeks 1 & 2
Pick 2 exercises to do 3 times per week from the list below.
1. Jump-rope: 3-5 sets of 100 reps, 2 sets (1 on each leg) of one-legged jumping of 100 reps.
2. Square jumping: create a square with four quadrants on the floor (use tape or something) and jump around into each square in a clockwise and the counterclockwise pattern. Do 4 sets of 25 reps alternating clockwise and counterclockwise rotation (one time around, four hops, counts as one repetition.
3. Jump and Reach: Find an object that is just beyond your reach and jump from a standing position (no approach) and reach for it (basketball rim or point on the backboard). Do 5 sets of 15 reps.
4. Pool Jumps: This is great for anyone with a back injury. Squat and jump out of the water as high as you can; land in a manner that puts no pressure on your body (if you sit into the water when you come down, you will avoid most impact injuries--don't land on the bottom of the pool butt-first though). Using chest-high water works great for those with back injuries (me), and the shallower the water, the more pressure will be put on your joints. I recommend this for everyone that has access to a pool--you avoid the impact but get a great workout on your legs. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Weeks 3 & 4
Continue doing two of the three exercises for weeks 1 & 2. Choose 2 more of the 4 exercises listed below.
1. Block Jumps: Find an object within your reach on an average, less than maximal jump. It's best for this object to be on top of something. I used objects on a 8 ft. bookshelf. The reason for this is that you want to be able to reach up and penetrate over this object and not touch the structure the object is on top of or the object itself. Jump and reach with maximal effort reaching with strong hands, fingers spread, and without touching anything in the process. Work on getting as close to the objects as possible with your hands and moving your hands around the object while in mid-air. This will better your balance while still jumping with maximal intensity. Do 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions. And don't knock the bookshelf over.
2. No-armed Jumps: Get ready for the hardest exercise. Jump with your hand clasped above your head striving to touch your knees to your chest on each jump. As your feet hit the ground, rebound back into the air (bounce, with no pause on the ground). This exercise really sucks because you realize how much you use your arms to jump. Do 3 sets of 15-20 reps. Have a trashcan ready for puking.
3. Approach Jumps: Do normal approaches with maximal jumps. Reach for an object slightly out of reach. Concentrate on your arm movements as well as the speed of your approach (the faster the better). The closer (time-wise not distance-wise) that your last two steps hit the ground, the higher you'll jump. Focus on mechanics. Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
4. Laundry-Jumps: Named after the materials I had available to me at the time, this exercise requires jumping back and forth over an object in a side-to-side motion. The object should be no taller than 2 feet and no lower than 8 inches. It should not be more than 12 inches in width. The object should also be collapsable in case you land on it. I used an extremely collapsable laundry basket (plastic). Rebound back and forth over the basket. Do 3 sets of 20-30 reps.
Weeks 5 & 6
Do your 4 exercises from weeks 1-4 and add one from this list:
1) Speed skater bounds: Do the same motions as a speed skater would. When you land on your right foot, your left arm should be swinging in front of you, your right arm should be swinging backward, and your left foot should be close to the ground and crossed behind your right leg. Sorry if the description isn't very good. I recommend watching a speed skater. Instead of sliding back and forth while bent over, you bound back and forth over about a distance of 4-6 feet depending on how tall you are. You should feel it killing your gluteus maximus. Do 3 sets of 30 repetitions.
2) Split-leg jumps: Start in a kneeling position with your forward leg bent at 90 degrees and your back leg slightly off the ground. Jump and land with the opposite foot forward and the opposite foot backward (don't bang your knee on the ground). On your forward leg, try and keep from bending your ankle so that your knee is more forward than your foot (this puts a lot of pressure on your knees). Do 3 sets of 30 repetitions.
Weeks 7, 8, & 9
Now it's time to do some real work.
From weeks 3 & 4, do three of the four exercises and add 10 repetitions to each exercise. Also, do both of the exercises from weeks 5 & 6 adding 10 repetitions to each. After you are done with these 9 weeks, take a week off and do some "active-rest". After that, do some of the exercises that you enjoyed the most--or the exercises that you felt you benefitted the most from. Do 3 of your favorite ones three times per week working on intensity and increasing the number of reps you do every week. After another nine weeks of that "playing around", you might want to start working on the program again. I recommend a lot of "down-time" from plyometrics after a nine week period of hard training.
I have kept nearly all of my gained vertical jump after I finished a year of plyometrics and progressive weight training without much plyometric maintenance. However, to get back to peak form, I would have to do three sets of some exercises, three times per week for a few weeks. I do that a few weeks before each season begins. Good luck.