Plyometrics are an intense exercise modality to improve strength, jump, and sprint performance with various jumps, hops, skips, and bounds. But how often should you do them to improve these physical qualities?
Maximizing performance with plyometrics involves performing <250 weekly ground contacts. Typically, it’s 40-80 jumps per session, 1-2 times per week.
This is a broad answer to the question, so I’ve broken down specifics below based on your training goal.
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How Often Should You Do Plyometrics?
Based on the most recent plyometric training meta-analysis (a combination of all eligible plyometric studies rolled into one), more plyometric training sessions and weeks of training results in the greatest performance and muscle-tendon architecture improvements .
Recommendations vary based on what you’re trying to improve. For example, more than 15 sessions in less than 10 weeks (1-2 plyometric sessions per week) will maximize strength development . For the vertical jump, you’re looking at more than 10 weeks and 20 plyometric sessions (2 plyometric sessions per week) .
Depending on your training goals, 1-2 plyometric sessions per week is enough to maximize performance. For brief training periods, pushing to 3 sessions per week is an option but is often not necessary and can lead to unwanted niggles and injury.
However, this depends on the intensity of your plyometrics. Low-intensity, extensive (sub-maximal) plyometrics can be performed more often – every second day, for example, 3-4 times per week.
In contrast, if you’re performing high-intensity plyometrics or Verkhoshanksy’s Shock Method, like drop and depth jumps, 1-2 plyometric sessions per week is more than enough in my experience.
How Many Sets And Reps Of Plyometrics?
The sets and reps you use depend on the exercise selection. The typical set and rep scheme for high-intensity plyometrics is 1-4 sets of 1-10 reps. For example, a vertically orientated plyometric workout may look like this:
A1) Drop Jump 3 x 8
B1) Countermovement Jump 3 x 4
Instead of using sets and reps to measure volume, use total jumps. Typically, you’re looking at greater than 50 jumps per session to improve vertical jump , more than 40 jumps per session to improve maximal strength , and more than 80 jumps per session to enhance sprint performance .
This is a combination of plyometric exercise (<250 ms ground contact time, fast stretch-shortening cycle) and jumping (>250 ms ground contact time, slow stretch-shortening cycle). The above example is 36 total jumps, so you may add a few extra reps to hit the 40-jump threshold.
Importantly, similar gains are found when comparing low and high-volume plyometric programs. For example, 80-100 jumps per week results in similar jump performance improvements than 160-200 jumps per week in young footballers .
Further, a low-volume plyometric progression in semi-professional rugby players improved sprint performance . Volume progression was:
- Week 1: 40 contacts per session (80 total)
- Week 2: 50 contacts per session (100 total)
- Week 3: 60 contacts per session (120 total)
This indicates you only need a few sets and reps to make gains with plyometrics. Here’s an example 40 jump/contact plyometric session you could use as a baseline:
A1) Drop Jump 1 x 5
B1) Hurdle Hops 2 x 5
C1) Single-Leg Countermovement Jump 2 x 4/side
D1) Broad Jump Bounds 1 x 5
E1) Bounding 2 x 6/side
Performing less than 250 weekly jumps shows the most significant improvement in tendon stiffness and jump performance . However, this is for intense plyometrics.
During preparation phases where extensive (sub-maximal) plyometrics and jumps are performed, you may get up to 400 jumps/contacts per session. I have readily programmed this type of workout for professional athletes and done it myself.
It’s not intense jumping. It’s smooth and rhythmic, designed to prepare the muscles and tendons for intense work. Here’s an example below:
How Long Should A Plyometric Workout Be?
A plyometric workout can be long as you’ll recover fully. This means long rest times between sets. Expect to work out for 30-60 mins if it’s a dedicated plyometric session, including your warm-up.
However, many well-designed programs incorporate plyometrics within or at the beginning of a strength training workout.
For example, hops or jumps performed before a heavy squat session. An advanced set and rep scheme will have you complexing a heavy strength exercise with a plyometric exercise in a superset.
The goal is to “potentiate” the plyometric exercise so you generate more strength, speed, and power.
Can You Do Plyometrics Every Day?
Like most things, you can do plyometrics every day. The real question is, should you? No, you shouldn’t do plyometrics every day as you’re begging for injury.
More than 500 jumps per week is classified as high volume, and sustaining these weekly volumes causes tendon adaptations detrimental to performance .
Performing plyometrics daily is an easy way to increase your volume, creeping over the 500 jumps weekly.
Plyometrics should not be performed often and be limited to 1-2 times per week and up to 3 sessions per week maximum when high-intensity plyometrics are employed. Low-volume plyometrics are as effective as high-volume sessions with greater than 500 ground contacts per week, leading to unwanted changes to the tendon.
1. Ramírez-delaCruz, M., Bravo-Sánchez, A., Esteban-García, P., Jiménez, F., & Abián-Vicén, J. (2022). Effects of plyometric training on lower body muscle architecture, tendon structure, stiffness and physical performance: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports medicine-open, 8(1), 1-29.
2. De Villarreal, E. S. S., Requena, B., & Newton, R. U. (2010). Does plyometric training improve strength performance? A meta-analysis. Journal of science and medicine in sport, 13(5), 513-522.
3. de Villarreal, E. S. S., Kellis, E., Kraemer, W. J., & Izquierdo, M. (2009). Determining variables of plyometric training for improving vertical jump height performance: a meta-analysis. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 23(2), 495-506.
4. de Villarreal, E. S., Requena, B., & Cronin, J. B. (2012). The effects of plyometric training on sprint performance: A meta-analysis. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 26(2), 575-584.
5. Bianchi, M., Coratella, G., Dello Iacono, A., & Beato, M. (2018). Comparative effects of single vs. double weekly plyometric training sessions on jump, sprint and COD abilities of elite youth football players. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, (Aug 18).
6. Watkins, C. M., Gill, N. D., Maunder, E., Downes, P., Young, J. D., McGuigan, M. R., & Storey, A. G. (2021). The effect of low-volume preseason plyometric training on force-velocity profiles in semiprofessional rugby union players. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 35(3), 604-615.
7, Moran, J., Liew, B., Ramirez-Campillo, R., Granacher, U., Negra, Y., & Chaabene, H. (2023). The effects of plyometric jump training on lower-limb stiffness in healthy individuals: A meta-analytical comparison. Journal of Sport and Health Science, 12(2), 236-245.