The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH


Jump Into Your New Year Exercise on Different Surfaces

Written by
Michael Harper, MEd
Posted in
Move more

Monday, Jan 07, 2013

As you jump into the New Year, along with your New Year’s resolutions, consider adding changes to your exercise routine to keep it fresh and new. Recently we discussed what the effect of just changing your music can have on your workout in the article “Singing the Workout Blues.” While changing your music takes very little effort, changing your routine may take a little work but often it is well worth the effort. One possibility is to add in plyometric training which is basically jump training.

Plyometrics can easily be incorporated into your exercise routine as long as you have basic levels of strength to support your body in the landing phase of the exercise. Adding jump training to your workout not only offers variety to your workout, but there is some evidence that is may assist in preventing injury as we explored in “Reducing ACL injuries in Women.” Furthermore, it has recently been shown to have a great impact on sprint speed as discussed in “Jump to Sprint Faster.”

If you decide to try some of the exercises suggested in either of these articles you should alsoconsider changing the surface that you jump on. Most suggestions for progressing with this type of training recommend increasing the number of jumps performed or changing the difficulty of the jump to enhance the gains from the exercise. New research being published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, however, suggests looking at changing the surface and perhaps decreasing the number of jumps being performed instead.1 While it is important to start out on soft surfaces, it may be appropriate to utilize a harder surface down the road for continued gains.

Specifically, in the study they found that completing jump training using a moderate plyometric training volume on a hard surface such as a wood gymnasium floor compared to performing on a soft surface such as a 3 cm thick athletic mat, yielded double the adaptations in reactive strength. In others words, they found that a high volume of training was not necessary to induce reactive strength adaptations when using a harder landing surface. This suggests that increasing repetitions is not the only way for improvements to be realized.

So as you start looking for new ways to change your workout in the New Year, consider adding some of the exercises explored in “Reducing ACL injuries in Women” and“Jump to Sprint Faster.” Then as you become proficient and have increased the number of repetitions completed, consider changing the surface you jump on and reducing the number of repetitions. Of course, be sure to follow their recommendations for safe implementation!

1Campillo, R.R., Andrade, D.C., Izquierdo, M.. Effects of Plyometric Training Volume and Training Surface on Explosive Strength. [published online ahead of print December 18, 2012]. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2012. Accessed December 20, 2012