Skip to main content

Drop Jumping as a Training Method for Jumping Ability

Abstract

Vertical jumping ability is of importance for good performance in sports such as basketball and volleyball. Coaches are in need of exercises that consume only little time and still help to improve their players’ jumping ability, without involving a high risk of injury. Drop jumping is assumed to satisfy these requirements. This assumption is supported by a review of results of training studies. However, it appears that regular jumping exercises can be just as helpful. The same holds for exercises with weights, provided the subjects have no weight-training history. In fact, for unskilled jumpers who have no weight-training history, the effects of training programmes utilising these different exercises are additive. The most effective, efficient and safe way for a coach to improve the jumping achievement of his athletes may well be to submit them first to a training programme utilising regular jumps, then to a weight-training programme and finally to a drop jump training programme.

In drop jump training programmes themselves, the improvement in jumping height varies greatly among studies. This variation cannot be explained satisfactorily with the information available on subjects and training programmes. Given the current state of knowledge, coaches seem to have no other option than to strictly copy a programme which has proved to be very effective. Obviously there is a need for more systematic research of the relationship between design and effect of drop jump training programmes. The most important variable to be controlled is drop jumping technique. From a review of biomechanical studies of drop jumping, it becomes clear that jumping technique strongly affects the mechanical output of muscles. The biomechanics of 2 techniques are discussed. In the bounce drop jump the downward movement after the drop is reversed as soon as possible into an upward push-off, while in the countermovement drop jump this is done more gradually by increasing the amplitude of the downward movement after landing. It is speculated that the bounce drop jump might trigger improvement of the power output capacity of muscles, whereas the repetition of the countermovement drop jump may help to improve coordination. Future training studies are needed to determine whether drop jumping technique really affects the outcome of the training, and if so, which technique should be preferred. Also, further biomechanical research is needed to determine kinematics and kinetics of other drop jumping techniques, and to trace potential dangers. The author urges for a close cooperation between coaches and scientists in future research.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Asmussen E, Bonde-Petersen F. Storage of elastic energy in skeletal muscles in man. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica 92: 385–392, 1974

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bartholomew SA. Plyometrics and vertical jump training. M.A. thesis, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1985

    Google Scholar 

  3. Blackwell RP. Time in air as a measure of vertical jumping ability. M.A. thesis, East Carolina University, 1978

  4. Blattner SE, Noble L. Relative effects of isokinetic and plyometric training on vertical jumping performance. Research Quarterly 50: 583–588, 1979

    Google Scholar 

  5. Bobbert MF, Huijing PA, van Ingen Schenau GJ. Drop jumping. I. The influence of jumping technique on the biomechanics of jumping. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 19: 332–338, 1987a

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Bobbert MF, Huijing PA, van Ingen Schenau GJ. Drop jumping. II. The influence of dropping height on the biomechanics of drop jumping. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 19: 339–346, 1987b

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Bobbert MF, Mackay M, Schinkelshoek D, Huijing PA, van Ingen Schenau GJ. A biomechanical analysis of drop and countermovement jumps. European Journal of Applied Physiology 54: 566–573, 1986

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Bobbert MF, van Ingen Schenau GJ. Coordination in vertical jumping. Journal of Biomechanics 21: 249–262, 1988

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Bosco C, Komi PV. Potentiation of the mechanical behavior of human skeletal muscle through prestretching. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica 106: 467–472, 1979

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Bosco C, Komi PV, Ito A. Prestretch potentiation of human skeletal muscle during ballistic movement. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica 111: 135–140, 1981

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Bosco C, Komi PV, Locatelli E. Physiologische Betrachtungen zum Tiefsprungtraining. Leistungssport 9: 434–439, 1979

    Google Scholar 

  12. Bosco C, Komi PV, Pulli M, Pittera C, Montonev H. Considerations of the training of the elastic potential of the human skeletal muscle. Volleyball (2): 22–30, 1982a

    Google Scholar 

  13. Bosco C, Pittera C. Zur Trainingswirkung neuentwickelter Sprungübungen auf die Explosivkraft. Leistungssport 12: 36–39, 1982

    Google Scholar 

  14. Bosco C, Tihanyi J, Komi PV, Fekete G, Apor P. Storage and recoil of elastic energy in slow and fast types of human skeletal muscles. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica 116: 343–349, 1982b

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Bosco C, Viitasali JT, Komi PV, Luhtanen P. Combined effect of elastic energy and myoelectrical potentiation during stretch-shortening cycle exercise. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica 114: 557–565, 1982c

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Brown ME. The effect of plyometric training on the vertical jump on high school boys’ basketball players. Thesis, University of Oregon, 1986

  17. Calloway B. Plyometric training for greater speed. Scholastic Coach 47: 56, 111, 1978

    Google Scholar 

  18. Cavagna GA, Citterio G. Effect of stretching on the elastic characteristics and the contractile component of frog striated muscle. Journal of Physiology 239: 1–14, 1974

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. Cavagna GA, Citterio G, Jacini P. The additional mechanical energy delivered by the contractile component of the previously stretched muscle. Journal of Physiology 251: 65P–66P, 1975

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Cavagna GA, Dusman B, Margaria R. Positive work done by a previously stretched muscle. Journal of Applied Physiology 24: 21–32, 1968

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Cavagna GA, Komarek L, Citterio G, Margaria R. Power output of the previously stretched muscle. In Vredenbregt & Wartenweiler J (Eds) Biomechanics II, Medicine and sports, Vol. 6, pp. 159–167, University Park Press, Baltimore, 1971

    Google Scholar 

  22. Cavagna GA, Zamboni A, Faraggiana T, Margaria R. Jumping on the moon: power output at different gravity values. Aerospace Medicine 43: 408–414, 1972

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. Clutch D, Wilton M, McGown C, Bryce GR. The effects of drop jumps and weight training on leg strength and vertical jump. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport 54: 5–10, 1983

    Google Scholar 

  24. Costello F. Using weight training and plyometrics to increase explosive power for football. National Strength and Conditioning Journal 6: 22–25, 1984

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Curtin NA, Gilbert C, Kretzschmar KM, Wilkie DR. The effect of the performance of work on total energy output and metabolism during muscular contraction. Journal of Physiology 238: 455–472, 1974

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  26. Dekel S, Weissman SL. Joint changes after overuse and peak overloading of rabbit knees in vivo. Acta Orthopaedica Scandinavica 49: 519–528, 1978

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. Dietz V, Schmidtbleicher D, Noth J. Neuronal mechanisms of human locomotion. Journal of Physiology 281: 139–155, 1978

    Google Scholar 

  28. Edman KAP, Elzinga G, Noble MIM. Critical sarcomere extension required to recruit a decaying component of extra force during stretch in tetanic contractions of frog skeletal muscle fibres. Journal of General Physiology 78: 365–382, 1981

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  29. Edman KAP, Elzinga G, Noble MIM. Residual force enhancement after stretch of contracting frog single muscle fibers. Journal of General Physiology 80: 769–784, 1982

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  30. Ford HT, Puckett JR, Drummond JP, Sawyer K, Gantt K, Fussell C. Effects of three combinations of plyometric and weight training programs on selected physical fitness test items. Perceptual and Motor Skills 56: 919–922, 1983

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Fritz M. Analyse der vertikalen Auflagerkraft bei unterschiedlichen Sprüngen anhand von gemessenen und simulierten Kraftkurven. Leistungssport 11: 74–78, 1981

    Google Scholar 

  32. Gemar JA. The effects of weight training and plyometric training on vertical jump, standing jump and forty-meter sprint. Ph.D. thesis, Brigham Young University, 1986

  33. Hoster M. Zum Problem der Überlastungssyndrome am Bewegungsapparat von Springern und Springerinnen in der Leichtatletik. Die Lehre der Leichtatletik 39: 1307–1310, 1982

    Google Scholar 

  34. Jensen CR, Schultz GW. Applied kinesiology: the scientific study of human performance, pp. 81–92, McGraw Hill Book Co., New York, 1977

    Google Scholar 

  35. Keohane AL. The effects of a six week depth jumping program on the vertical jumping ability of figure skaters. M.P.E. Thesis, University of British Columbia, 1977

  36. Komi PV, Bosco C. Utilization of stored elastic energy in leg extensor muscles by men and women. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 10: 261–265, 1978

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  37. Kreighbaum E, Bartheis KM. Biomechanics: a qualitative approach for studying human movement, pp. 406–410, Burgess, Minneapolis, 1981

    Google Scholar 

  38. Mann R. Plyometrics. Track and Field Quarterly Review 81: 55–57, 1981

    Google Scholar 

  39. Marey M, Demeny MG. Locomotion humaine, macénisme du saut. Comptes Rendus Hebdomadaires des Séances de l’Academie des Sciences (Paris) 101: 489–494, 1985

    Google Scholar 

  40. Melvill Jones G, Watt DGD. Observations on the control of stepping and hopping movements in man. Journal of Physiology 219: 709–727, 1971

    Google Scholar 

  41. Miller BP. The effects of plyometric training on the vertical jump performance of adult female subjects. British Journal of Sports Medicine 16: 113, 1982

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Miller BP, Power SLD. Developing power in athletics through the process of depth jumping. Track and Field Quarterly Review 81: 52–54, 1981

    Google Scholar 

  43. Moynihan PS. Plyometrics: training and exercise. Track and Field Quarterly Review 83: 52–59, 1983

    Google Scholar 

  44. Polhemus R. Plyometric training for the improvement of athletic ability. Scholastic Coach 51: 68–69, 1981

    Google Scholar 

  45. Radin EL, Ehrlich MG, Chernack R, Abernathy P, Paul IL, et al. Effect of repetitive impulsive loading on the knee joint of rabbits. Clinical Orthopaedics 131: 288–293, 1978

    Google Scholar 

  46. Radin EL, Parker HG, Pugh JW, Steinberg RS, Paul IL, et al. Response of joints to impact loading. III. Journal of Biomechanics 6: 51–57, 1973

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  47. Schmidtbleicher G, Dietz V, Noth J, Antoni M. Auftreten und funktionelle Bedeutung des Muskeldehnungsreflexes bei Laufund Sprintbewegungen. Leistungssport 8: 480–490, 1978

    Google Scholar 

  48. Schmidtbleicher D, Gollhofer A. Neuromuskuläre Untersuchungen zur Bestimmung individueller Belastungsgrössen für ein Tiefsprungtraining. Leistungssport 12: 298–307, 1982

    Google Scholar 

  49. Scoles G. Depth jumping! Does it really work? Athletic Journal 58: 48, 50, 74–76, 1978

    Google Scholar 

  50. Serink MT, Nachemson A, Hansson G. The effect of impact loading on rabbit knee joints. Acta Othopaedica Scandinavica 48: 250–262, 1977

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  51. Steben RE, Steben AH. The validity of the stretch-shortening cycle in selected jumping events. Journal of Sports Medicine 21: 28–37, 1981

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  52. Stienen JM, Blangé T, Schnerr MC. Tension response of frog sar-torius muscle to quick ramp-shaped shortenings and some effects of metabolic inhibition. Pflügers Archiv 376: 97–104, 1978

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  53. Thayer B. Plyometrics. Coaching Review 4: 18–19, 1981

    Google Scholar 

  54. van Ingen Schenau GJ. An alternative view to the concept of utilization of elastic energy in human movement. Human Movement Science 3: 301–336, 1984

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Verhoshanski Y. Are depth jumps useful? Track and Field 12: 9, 1967. Translated in: Yessis Review of Soviet Physical Education and Sports 3: 75–78, 1968

    Google Scholar 

  56. Verhoshanski Y. Perspectives in the improvement of speed-strength preparation of jumpers. Track and Field 9: 11–12, 1966. Translated in: Yessis Review of Soviet Physical Education and Sports 4: 28–35, 1969

    Google Scholar 

  57. Wilt F. Plyometrics - What it is and how it works. Modern Athlete and Coach 16: 9–12, 1978

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Maarten F. Bobbert.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bobbert, M.F. Drop Jumping as a Training Method for Jumping Ability. Sports Medicine 9, 7–22 (1990). https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-199009010-00002

Download citation

Keywords

  • Joint Moment
  • Training Study
  • Vertical Jump
  • Jump Height
  • Mechanical Output