Incorporating Jump Training in Athletics

Author: Adam Kotschwar

All sports disciplines require the development of explosive strength. Tidow states, “Explosive strength is the ability to rapidly increase force.”  As athletes we are trying to develop the most force in the least amount of time. Jumping is a pure form of explosive strength. The use of jumps can assist an athlete in force development, muscular coordination, velocity, and power.

However, jumping must be programmed correctly to be effective and have the desired results for different sports disciplines and athletes. Coach and athlete must be on the same page to what the desired results for each programmed jumps are going to be.

Before incorporating jump training into an athletes program a few considerations must be understood.

  1. Jump training is physically taxing on an athlete. So, an athlete must have a solid GPP (General Physical Preparedness) base. A beginner must start with the development of base GPP though variations of sled pulls and incorporate basic squat jumps. Beginner athletes should stay at 20 jumps twice per week. Advanced athletes can ramp up jump variations by adding ankle weights, hold kettlebells, use weight vest, or combinations. The higher an athletes GPP the more jump variations can be incorporated into their program. Advanced athletes should stay at 40-50 jumps twice a week. Keeping jump training at an optimal level is key to the success.
  2. Jump training should be a coordinated effort between coach and athlete. As an athlete’s GPP grows so should his jump training and add focus into SPP (Special Physical Preparation). Jump training should build on basic jumps and also incorporate jumps for the athlete’s sport discipline. For example, a coach would not treat a basketball player’s jump training the same as a strength athlete. A basketball player will benefit more from incorporating multiple jumps in short periods of time or depth jumps into their training, Whereas, as strength athlete may perform a box squat with weights jumping onto a box until a max height is achieved at that weight.
  3. Jump training should be included into a developed strength program to be the most advantageous for the athlete.  The only way to increase a jump height is to create more power. An athlete creates more power by developing absolute strength and explosive strength together. This is accomplished through the proper development of a strength program utilizing Max Effort Days and Dynamic Effort Days (More on this in future post).

The coach and athlete must now decide on incorporating jumps into their program. This should be done by using variations of three types of jumping: 1) max effort; 2) dynamic effort,; and 3) sub-maximal effort. Keep changing the variations and resistance used to avoid the Law of Accommodation. Regardless of the type of jump the interval method should be used for jump volume (i.e. set number of sets x set number of jumps).

  1. Max Effort Jumping: An athlete should use variations or combinations of weight resitstance: dumbbells, kettlebells, weight vests, medicine balls, barbells.The athlete and coach will determine a jump variation (standing, box squat, kneeling etc) and select either a weight or box height. If a weight is selected the athlete will jump onto boxes adding more height until max height is reached at that weight. If a box height is selected athlete will add weight until unable to perform jump at the selected box height. The max effort method is best for developing intra and inter muscular coordination.
  2. Dynamic Effort Jumping:  This method uses lighter or no resistance for multiple jumps in a set. The box height should be determined by using a percentage of the athlete’s all-time max box jump of the selected variation. Coach should remember to keep the percentage at an optimal box height, 70-80% of max box jump. This method is best used to develop explosive strength.
  3. Sub-Maximal Effort Method: This effort of jumping is performed with no or very light weights. Use a set box height until failure or near failure is achieved. This type of jumping at high rep ranges helps increase muscular endurance and size.

Remember coach and athlete should work together to implement jump training that most effectively aligns with the athlete’s sports discipline and develops the weaknesses of the athlete. Do not get stagnant on performing the same jumps every week. Keep the variations coming as to overcome boredom, accommodation, and setting new records every week. Do not over program jumping as this may have negative effect on the athlete’s performance. Optimal training is key.


Simmons, L. (2023). Westside Barbell Book of Methods. Westside Barbell

Yessis, Dr. M. (2009). Explosive Plyometrics.Ultimate Athlete Concepts.

Starzynski, T., Sozanski, H. Ph.D (1999). Explosive Power and Jumping Ability for All Sports: Atlas of Exercise. Station Publishing Company.

Simmons, L. (2015). Westside Barbell Special Strength Development for All Sports. Westside Barbell.