How to Jump Higher

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How to Jump Higher

Improving your vertical jump can be summed up into 3 Key Points:

1. Be a Jumper:  You must practice jumping every week and let all other training revolve around your jump practice in order to be a good jumper.  In our opinion, jump practice serves as all the plyometric work you would need, especially if you already play a sport too.  Until you have 10,000 jumps under your belt, you need more jump practice.  Since jumping is hard on the body, start out with just one session per week, then you could do two, but I wouldn’t recommend more than 3 per week.  Aim for around 50 quality jumping reps per week, and always balance the sides that you plant from.  If it is too painful for you to have jump sessions regularly, then the next two steps take priority.

2. Get Flexible:  The Penultimate (second to last) stride in both a two foot and one foot jumping requires a deep split position to lower your body and provide better leverage.  Having tight muscles is like driving a car with the parking brake on, it’s bound to mess up your body in the long run and often results in nagging non contact injuries.  In addition, you get faster motion and better leverage from greater flexibility, so you’ll be able to cover more ground with less effort.  Until you can comfortably hit the stretching standards in the program, you can always improve your flexibility.

3. Get Stronger:  Once you are able to jump often, pain free, and are fluid and flexible, it’s time to add some horsepower to your engine.  The hips are the power source of the jump and have the smallest tendon associated with them.  The knees and ankles provide the bounce since they have larger tendons, but must have strong and flexible muscles to protect the joint from too much force.  A balanced weight training approach will keep your body healthy and add more oomph to any movement you make.  The caveat is not to become a lifter, or else you will end up heavy and tight, interfering with your athleticism.  Done the way we prescribe, lifting can also improve your range of motion.  With weighted sled work, you can also improve your conditioning and lower body health substantially as well.  

In the strength through length program, you’ll jump 2x per week if you decide to pursue jump training.  You’ll warm up with something like pickup basketball, hit 25 max effort jumps, and ideally follow it up with some sled work after to stay healthy.  After your shower would be a good time to stretch as well so that you do not tighten up.

Special Considerations:

Ankle/Shin/Foot Pain:  We have to be strong from the ground up.  In this order or importance, if you have these pains, use these tools: Sled Drives/Drags, Tibilais Raises, Leaning Calf Raise, Bent Leg Calf Raise, and Step Downs to build strength from the ground up.

Knee Pain: Pain can be below the knee (Patellar tendon) or above the knee (Quad tendon).  In addition to the ankle recommendations, you should also stretch the quad using the couch stretch, and strengthen your knees with other knee bending exercises when ready.  The strength and flexibility protocols already take care of this.

Back Pain: Mobile and strong hips are the key to back pain.  The mobility routines will keep your back feeling healthy