Plyometric Training – for stronger tendons and bigger dunks!

written by

Nick Harrison

Plyometric training incorporates a range of jumping and explosive exercises.

This form of exercise is safe and effective for improving our power and jump height. (Markovic, 2010).

Plyometric exercises are also important in tendon rehabilitation. They work to re-train the tendon to be able to store and release energy in a fast and powerful fashion.

For players with tendon issues the best time to work on plyometric exercises is during training down-time – a perfect example of this would be now, during COVID-19 lockdown when we are training and playing less.

Including these exercises will make players more durable to basketball when things return to normal.

Plyometric exercises often involve landing from a jump and then rapidly pushing back off the ground.

A recent study by Laurent (2020) had two really interesting findings for basketball players:

Firstly, drop-jump exercises with stiff-knees creates Achilles stiffness and significantly improves drop-jump height. These ‘drop-jumps’ are similar to a fast break dunk. Using speed and a stiff Achilles tendon a player absorbs the final running step before a rapid vertical jump up to the hoop.

Secondly, drop-jump exercises with the knees bent to an 80-90 degrees resulted in less stiffness but a more significant improvement in counter-movement jump height. ‘Counter-movement jumps’ are like a dunk from a standing start, loading into a mini squat before a rapid vertical jump to the hoop.

Drop-jump exercise (Yoshida, 2018)

I prescribe either or both of these exercises to healthy athletes as part of their training, practiced twice a week, starting with 3 sets of 10 repetitions with a 90 second rest between sets (Laurent, 2020).

Basketball players around the world have been struggling to get on a court with COVID-19 so now is the perfect time to include these plyometric exercises into your weekly routine.

If no plyometric training is done now, we may see a sudden spike in injury when basketball resumes.

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