Entertainment Performing Arts Jumping Higher With Plyometrics Share PINTEREST Email Print Patrik Giardino/Getty Images Performing Arts Dance Basics Styles Gear Singing Acting Musical Theater Ballet Stand Up Comedy By Treva Bedinghaus Treva L. Bedinghaus is a former competitive dancer who has studied ballet, tap, and jazz. She writes about dance styles and practices and the history of dance. our editorial process Treva Bedinghaus Updated March 03, 2019 One question that many dancers seem to ask is, "How can I jump higher?" Wouldn't it be amazing to have more time in the air to properly execute a jump? One of the highlights of watching a male dancer is his ability to soar through the air, reaching near impossible heights. What is it that gives a dancer the ability to jump high? Well, this is one area of dance that can be improved by employing the methods used by athletes. If you want to jump higher, you need to try plyometrics. What Is Plyometrics? Plyometrics is another word for jump training. It is a training technique designed to increase muscular power and explosiveness. Plyometric training conditions the body by using dynamic resistance exercises. These exercises rapidly stretch a muscle and then rapidly shorten it. For example, hopping and jumping exercises work to both stretch and shorten the quadriceps which can strengthen the muscles, increase vertical jump, and reduce the force of impact on the joints. What Are the Benefits of Plyometrics? Many dancers realize the benefits of incorporating plyometrics into their training regimen. What dancer wouldn't want to improve their vertical jumps, increase their muscle strength, and protect their joints? By improving a dancer's explosive power, plyometrics can help dancers reach new heights with their leaps and jumps. How Does Plyometrics Work? The goal of plyometrics is to create the greatest amount of force in the shortest amount of time. Plyometrics can train your nervous system to increase explosiveness, giving you an extra little push to get yourself higher and get there faster. To properly employ plyometrics, you need to move rapidly through a complete range of motion, then quickly relax into a full stretch. The quick stretch applied to the muscle during the initial push-off of a jump increases muscle contraction, and that increases power. Can Plyometrics Cause Injury? Plyometric training comes with an increased risk of injury, especially in dancers who don't have a lot of strength. If you are thinking of trying plyometrics, make sure to check with your dance instructor first. Your teacher will be able to tell you if such a regimen is suitable for your stage of training. Although plyometrics training isn't associated with high risks of injury, any training routine that builds strength through explosive movement is associated with an increased risk of injury. A pulled hamstrings or twisted ankle will not be worth the price for a higher vertical jump. What Are Some Plyometrics Exercises? Remember that any training method that is new to your body should be introduced slowly in order to prevent injury. To begin a plyometrics routine, introduce the following exercises into your weekly training regimen slowly. Two or three days a week should be enough to get you started without risking injury. These exercises should help you get higher, move faster, and stay up in the air longer. Tuck jumps: Begin standing with your feet together. Bend your knees and jump into the air as high as you can, tucking your knees up to your chest. Land on both feet, then spring into the air again. Keep jumping continuously for 30 seconds. Scissor jumps: Starting in parallel, jump and split your legs with one foot moving forward and one moving backward. Land in a 90-degree lunge. Then scissor your legs in the air and land in the opposite lunge. Continue alternating lunges for 30 seconds. Bounding: Jump high into the air from one foot to the other, as if you are running in place as high as you can. Raise your front knee up as high as you can and move your arms in opposition. Run in place for 30 seconds. Source Brandt, Amy. Hang-Time Help, Pointe Magazine, Oct 2013.