What are low amplitude plyometrics and how should you use them?

You might have seen people perform low amplitude plyometrics or rudimental jumps and wondered what the point is of performing lots of little jumps over and over. 

Low amplitude plyometrics focus on short ground contact times by decreasing the range of motion at the hip and knee. This results in less forces going through the body and a smaller overall jump height when compared to traditional plyometrics. Low amplitude plyometrics can therefore be a useful way for athletes with an already high training load (endurance athletes, team sports) or pre existing injury to get some plyometrics into training without increasing fatigue or aggravating the injury. 

Another advantage of low amplitude plyometrics is that it utilises the strength shortening cycle in our muscles. This is our muscles version of a spring. When you make contact with the ground in landing, we want to create tension (stiffness) in our ankles to maximise the amount of energy stored in the tendons before it recoils back into the ground for the next jump. The more energy that can be retained in contact and then reused in the next jump, the more springy you will be. This translates to a faster “pop” off the ground when you are sprinting. A great way to learn to run faster & jump higher.

Here are some tips for performing low amplitude plyometrics:

  1. Land on the entire foot with each jump
  2. Focusing on actively lifting the forefoot up in order to leave the ground – toes to the sky when in the air
  3. Keep the movement fluent – if there is some hip and knee bend to begin with that is ok
  4. Like any other movement do it to the best of your ability – ensure ground contact times are short and you apply maximum force into the ground while keeping your technique to maximise the use of the strength shortening cycle

Low amplitude plyometrics can be performed in a variety of ways: Check out the videos on instagram for a visual demonstration.

  1. Pogos – stiffer knee and ankle. More focus on ankle stiffness. (Video 1 and 5)
  2. Jumps – integrate the hips and knees slightly more. (Video 2)
  3. Bounds – alternating feet. Allows you to not focus on as fast of a reloading of legs for landing. Still looking for short contact times. (Video 3)
  4. Hops – most similar to sport, but creates more fatigue. (Video 4)

And in multiple directions:

  1. Vertical (Video 1)
  2. Horizontal (Video 2)
  3. Lateral (Video 3)
  4. Rotational (Video 4 and 5)