How to Do Lateral Plyometric Jumps

Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

lateral plyometric jumps

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Targets: Power, agility

Equipment Needed: Line or obstacles

Level: Advanced

Lateral plyometric jumps are advanced exercises that can be used to develop power and agility. While most people focus on forward motion, it's important to include exercises that generate power and stability during lateral motion exercises as well. This benefits a wide range of athletes. Before doing the lateral plyometric jumps, a good place for athletes to begin building lower body power is by doing simple agility drills (such as ladder drills and dot drills) then slowly build up to tuck jumps. Other good additions to the plyometric routine include all-out sprints, stair running/bounding, and burpees. These drills are used by coaches for athletic training.

Benefits

Adding any sort of side-to-side movements to your training is crucial. Lateral movements not only improve strength, stability, and coordination, they also help reduce the risk for sports injuries by enhancing balance and proprioception through the whole body and improving overall hip, knee, and ankle joint stability. Lateral drills also help build more balanced strength in the muscles of the lower body, including the hip abductors and adductors.

Lateral drills improve sports performance for athletes who frequently, or abruptly, change direction, cut, or pivot. Specifically, those who play field and court sports—such as soccer, basketball, football, rugby, and tennis—as well as skiers, skaters, gymnasts, and even rock climbers, can benefit from adding side-to-side agility drills to their training routine.

Plyometric movements are one of the easiest and most effective ways for athletes to generate and increase power. The lateral plyometric jump is one exercise that primarily uses an athlete's body weight to generate power.

How to Do Lateral Plyometric Jumps

Only perform this exercise after a thorough warm up. You will want to begin with nothing more than a line on the floor until you are comfortable with side-to-side jumping.

  1. With feet no more than hip-width apart, bend your knees to squat straight down.
  2. Pushing through your heels quickly, push upward and sideways toward the other side of the line. Land softly and absorb the shock by squatting deeply. Repeat jumping back and forth over the line while keeping your shoulders and hips square and facing forward. You can vary your landing so that you land and rebound on both feet at once, or land on one foot first and rebound with a short double-step.
  3. Perform for 30- to 60-second intervals. In a workout, rest for 60 to 90 seconds, then repeat for three sets. Or, add them to a circuit training routine.

Common Mistakes

Avoid these errors so you can get the most out of this exercise and avoid strain or injury.

Not Prepared

This is an advanced plyometric exercise that should only be practiced after someone has a good level of strength and coordination. Prior to doing lateral plyometric jumps, athletes should easily be able to complete ladder drills (jumping forward/backward and side/side over low barriers). Next, they should be able to easily complete forward plyometric jumps, such as tuck jumps.

Hard Surface

Avoid doing this exercise on a hard surface (such as concrete) which is tough on the joints. Practice on carpet, grass, sand, hardwoods, or a gym floor for best results.

No Warmup

Do not go into this exercise cold. Be sure to complete a full warmup for 10 minutes or more to get your blood circulating and to limber up. Athletes should do a sport-specific warmup.

Insufficient Recovery

You should only do this drill two to three times per week, allowing at least a full day off between sessions. This gives the muscles time to recover, repair, and build.

Poor Landing Technique

You must learn safe landing technique to prevent injury. Land softly on the toes and roll to the heels, which helps dissipate the force of impact. Avoid any twisting or sideways motion at the knee.

Modifications and Variations

You can vary the speed and height of the jumps depending on the fitness level of the athletes.

Need a Modification?

Practice clearing the line with your feet higher and higher, land softly, and spring back quickly. Once you are comfortable, increase the size and height of the obstacle you are jumping over. Add a few inches at a time as you improve.

Up for a Challenge?

Increase the difficulty by performing one leg hops. This will develop power, strength, and stability. Jumping, landing, standing, and squatting on one leg will help build balance and stability.

Safety and Precautions

Plyometric jumps should only be done if you are well-rested and injury free. Children (before puberty) and those over 240 pounds should only do low-intensity and low volume plyometric drills. Do not do these drills if you have not fully prepared with the prerequisites and are adept with proper landing techniques. These workouts should always be supervised. As high-impact activities, they should be avoided in pregnancy and by anyone with joint or muscle injuries.

Try It Out

Incorporate this move and similar ones into one of these popular workouts:

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