Using Complex Training to Enhance Performance and Keep You Healthy (Part 2 of 3)

By Collis Spann

As discussed in the previous post, complex training can be easily incorporated into a strength training regimen in order to create the desired conditioned adaptive response. Complex training – more commonly referred to as “supersets” – should be calculated and programmed according to the athlete. Restriction of  the number of jumps, as well as the variations of jumps, should be pre-determined or based off auto-regulation.

There are several different types of plyometrics and/or jumps that can be used to ensure sport specificity in the program. The following are jumps used here in our Sports Performance Program: depth jumps, multi-jumps, jumps with a pre-run, flat multi-jumps, uni-lateral jumps, as well as sport-specific technical exercises. 

Depth jumps – part of the group of exercises known as “shock exercises” – are the most taxing and must utilized with great caution. There are several ways to determine if an athlete is capable of safely completing depth jumps and benefiting from the training stimulus.

The athlete’s one rep-max (1RM) squat is an excellent indicator of their readiness, in addition to their squat, jumping, and landing positions. Visual indicators of possible mechanical deficiencies are valgus knees (knees bent inward) – commonly referred to as a “knock-kneed” appearance, an improper landing position which should be assessed from the ankles up, and any other postural deviations. The drop height can be anywhere between from 60 cm to 115 cm depending on the skill level and experience of the athlete, and the focus of the coach for that specific day of the program.

Depth jumps are associated with high, so-called “reactive muscular tensions,” and can be very stressful on the joints. Depth jumps are intense and taxing but effective and rewarding when properly programmed and completed under professional supervision. The coach should be looking for ground-reaction time, proper foot placement and foot strike, and the rebound effect as the athlete transitions into the second part of the jump. Depth jumps are one of the many tools used HIT Training’s Sports Performance Program to enhance the lower body power of our athletes. 


  • Smith, C., Lyons, B., Hannon, J. C. (2014). A Pilot Study Involving the Effect of Two Different Complex Training Protocols on Lower Body Power. Human Movement, Vol. 15 Issue 3, p141 6p.
  • Starzynski, T., Sozanski, H. (1995). Explosive power and jumping ability for all sports: atlas of exercises. Island Pond, VT: Stadion Publishing Company, Inc. 

Quote of the Week: 

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” -  Arthur Ashe