The depth jump is the creme de la creme of basketball plyometrics. It has such sound research behind it and is the most effective and efficient plyometric exercise to train with explosive athletes.
It plays an outstanding role in my vertical jump program, which will release in the coming weeks.
I's such a beneficial exercise in increasing the vertical jump because it requires athletes how to first absorb force when landing. That's where I focus much of the video below. We must learn how to land before we create, redirect, and apply force.
Cues for landing part of the depth jump
Dropping off the box and landing lightly on our toes with light knee bend
A deep squat landing isn't what we want because we want to redirect the force eventually
This requires light knee bend and being light on toes ready for triple extension (ankle, knee, and hip extension)
Land in this athletic stance with butt dropped and engaged
Arms at sides
Irradiating force through hands by squeezing them
Think as if you're going to jump after landing because that's what we'll be progressing to
Landing may seem simple but can we do so without being loud? Can we be catlike? Soft and quiet on the landing?
These are the qualities we seek. Because the swift and soft landing happens from us absorbing the force generated from the drop.
A loud landing means the force is being dispersed throughout our body into a weak link and then out into our environment. Repeated landings like this compile. We don't absorb the force and aren't capable of redirecting.
Also repeated attempts to create force with basketball plyometrics when our body isn't ready will cause harm and eventually injury somewhere along the kinetic chain. The "bleeding" force will leak out through a weak point of our body - be it a knee, hip, low back, shoulder, etc. This is why it's ESSENTIAL to learn how to absorb force first!
Now as we assess the jumping aspect (redirecting and applying the force) we must remember this is all one motion.
Exploding cues for the depth jump
As we land from our descent as soon as we feel contact, we explode off toes
Ankles, knees, and hips extend as we bring hands from side to overhead
Eyes are up as if we're looking to dunk a basketball and place the rim in our sights
Land in similar fashion as the landing cues above
Final recommendations for basketball plyometrics
Begin applying this into your training routine. Don't overdo it at first. 2 sets of 3 to 5 landings is a good start. First be confident you're strong enough first to begin. Going through a heavy strength cycle is recommended to have the prerequisite strength to reap the benefits of basketball plyometric training for increasing the vertical jump. I'll cover this type of progression in my upcoming vertical jump series as well as some upcoming posts!