ATG Plyo Workout

9 min readJun 17, 2024


This is my attempt to sequence the forces of running and jumping so just about anyone can get a good “plyo” workout.

“Plyo” is short for plyometrics.

Plyo = more

Metrics = measure

More measure? Doesn’t make sense.

Don’t worry, the creator of the term, American track and field coach Fred Wilt, said it wasn’t a great term, but it was the best he could come up with.

The “father” of plyometrics, Dr. Yuri Verkhoshansky, referred to this as “shock training.”

The term “plyometrics” came afterward and happened to stick, but “shock training” is more accurate.

Ultimately if something is plyometric, it implies there is a landing AND a jump.

This simplest example I can think of is jumping and, immediately upon hitting the ground, trying to spring back up:

But even RUNNING is plyometric, since your body is airborne.

For most athletes, the shock is OVERDONE.


In my youth I played basketball every day for years.

This means I was already getting a lot of impact.

Then I added MORE plyos.

That was really the beginning of the end of my youth basketball career.

My knees kept getting worse from there.

I reached my 20s never close to realizing my dream of dunking.

I then stumbled onto my knees over toes journey thanks to the work of Olympic strength coach Charles Poliquin. He was the most vocal coach I saw, basically saying that if you have PROBLEMS with knees over toes, don’t run from it! Instead, figure out how to get GOOD at it.

That was the complete opposite of what I’d been taught and what to this day is in most college textbooks.

Thanks to Poliquin, I trained my ABILITY to the point that I could play basketball without knee pain for the first time since I was 11 YEARS OLD.

I continued my knees over toes experiments, and my legs continued to change.

One day on the court, a teammate told me he thought I could dunk.

“What?! Ha! Yea, right.”

And it turns out, he WAS right.

I did no additional plyometrics.

I was following pretty closely what would become the ATG system today.

And I was playing basketball.

ATG + basketball is my recipe for basketball.

ATG + baseball is my recipe for baseball.

ATG + running is my recipe for running.

ATG + martial arts is my recipe for martial arts.

ATG + dancing is my recipe for dancing.

ATG + hiking is my recipe for hiking.

ATG can be applied more or less to different areas but has full formulas, from ankles to wrists.

What these formulas primarily do is balance out the body.

Three primary examples come to mind.

At least, this is how I think of it…

  1. BACKWARD rehabs forward
  2. SLOW rehabs fast
  3. LOW rehabs high

These aren’t absolutes.

What matters is they happen to work really well in the real world!

Let’s take the knee.

Most knee problems occur in sports overdoing




On a single dunk you can see these factors.


You then slam the brakes and try to go HIGH.

The landing sometimes involves even more force!

Ability of the knee BACKWARD

Ability of the knee to SLOW the body

Ability of the knee in LOW positions

Look familiar?

There are many examples, but a few classic ones:

  1. Working BACKWARD against a sled or resisted treadmill has been very helpful for reducing pain:

2. SLOWING your body’s weight behind the knee has been very helpful in building the ability to handle force in the knee. One of my simplest goals for (most) athletes is the ability to control your body the entire way down:

3. Improved ability of the knee in low positions happens to be the most successful thing I’ve seen for helping people enjoy jumping with less pain and more ability.

This is a summary of how I rebuilt my knees!!!


Well, from hiking to dancing to basketball, you may already have enough impact in your life.

But what if you don’t?


When Alissa and the kids and I visit ATG HQ in Florida, we set up weekend basketball games with our staff.

When in Florida, I just do ATG (3 full body strength/mobility workouts) per week plus weekend hoops.

But for much of the year it’s just you and me in my backyard.

So during those times I explore some shock training.

But I like to do it safely.

Recently I got to thinking: Could I sequence running and jumping step by step in terms of force?

While I use this formula once a week for some safe shock training, it might also provide a useful PROGRESSION for someone returning to a sport.

So today you’re just reading what I’ve been playing with.

You could make this your own and change it as you see fit.


This sequence goes all the way from WALKING to JUMPING HIGH and FAR.

ONLY use the number of steps that seem like common sense for YOUR goals and life.

And always consider finishing with Step 13, even if you don’t get to Step 12.


Walking isn’t quite a plyo.

Running is.

But instead of going from walk to run, let’s go from walk to…

  1. Walk backward 100 steps

Backward requires just a bit more BOUNCE than forward because with each step you’re going through your TOES.

2. Jog backward (if you can) 100 steps

This is now a plyo because you’re getting a bit of air on each step.

3. Run backward (if you can) 50 steps

Use 1–2–3 as YOU see fit. Don’t rush. Have a safe space or use a resisted treadmill with firm grasp on the rails.

You might feel PLENTY warmed up from that.

But let’s not go forward just yet.

Sideways is still less force than forward. It gives you a needed break from the backward.

To be clear: REST as desired after ANY step of this.

But know that I do suggest some sideways to move and groove the hips a bit before going forward.

4. Sideways 50 steps each way (I like a criss-cross step but you could shuffle or do it however you want: above all this formula is workable PRINCIPLES — not perfection)

5. Forward run 100 steps (if you can)

6. Forward sprint 50 steps at up to 85% effort (if you can)

I don’t think you have to sprint.

But what if you could safely build up to it?

It can do a body a lot of good!

But EASE into it. Don’t force anything.

I don’t even think you have to go to 100%.

In fact, some track coaches suggest that about 85% effort will make you even FASTER because you stay smoother with less effort, which ends up making your form better long-term!

I’m a big fan of the 85% rule!

I’ve seen this dramatically reduce tweaks and strains from sprinting for us amateur sprinters while still delivering a ton of benefits!

Now if you DESIRE jumping, here’s what I’m thinking…

Rather than starting HIGH, start LOW.

Get some more circulation to the knees and surrounding muscles first.

7. Pulse low 20 times

8. Jump low 10 times

While it may not look impressive to pulse and jump low, I believe in having PAIN-FREE ABILITY in low positions before worrying about higher ones.

And before we jump UP…

9. Jump sideways 10 times per side

This will be less intense than jumping up, so I suggest it as a transition between low and high.

Now jump up very GENTLY…

10. Bounce up 20 times

From there, I add arm swing and try to go higher.

But I don’t think this is necessary for most lifestyles.

I do this because dunking is one of my favorite hobbies, and I only do this on weeks I’m not playing basketball.

In fact, everything up to this step would make a pretty good basketball warm-up for me!

I’ll test it out next time I play.




Pulse/Jump Low

Jump Sideways

Bounce up

This would warm up a good variety of the motions in basketball.

11. Jump up 10 times

My intent is very simple. I jump. And I try to spring back up when I hit the ground. And again. A simple but intense drill.

Then I do one more type of jump.

When you combine running AND jumping, you have even more shock!

12. Jump high and far 5 times per side

In my opinion, the most important of all the steps is your last step, no matter how few steps you did above:

13. Bottom ½ squat 3 sets of 10 reps

Why? Because running and jumping are FUN and tend to be overdone!

When in doubt, do the opposite.

You can do this with or without slant to elevate your heels, with dumbbell/kettlebell, with barbell — simply work at the level that FEELS GOOD for you.


1/13 Backward Walk 100 steps

2/13 Backward Jog 100 steps

3/13 Backward Run 50 steps

4/13 Lateral Run 50 steps

5/13 Forward Run 50 steps

6/13 Forward Sprint 85% 50 steps

7/13 Pulse Low 20 times

8/13 Jump Low 10 times

9/13 Jump Sideways 10 times per side

10/13 Bounce Up 20 times

11/13 Jump Up 10 times

12/13 Jump High and Far 5 times per side

13/13 Bottom ½ Squat 3 sets of 10 reps

At the very least, I hope this was useful food for thought for you.

Thank you for reading.

And if you’d like some coaching help through any of this, it’s on the app in my zone, last program on the right.

Yours in Solutions,





Coaching Certification

Directory of Coaches Worldwide

Foot-Inspired Shoes

PS. I’d like to add special thanks to:

Louis Simmons for making sled an exercise, including backward, which really set up the foundation of ATG.

Charles Poliquin, for his extensive work on deep strength (among MANY other topics).

Keegan Smith for believing in me and always encouraging me to explore. Keegan and I created ATG For Coaches together, and we’ve now certified hundreds of coaches around the world (links above).

And recently I noticed a plyo coach popularizing deep plyos. His name is Matt Watson and I think he’s doing a lot of good for the plyo world. Growing up I was never taught any deep plyos or strengthening, so I think ATG should support him and anyone else standing up for your FREEDOM to move your body.