Improve Vertical Jump: Useful Tips to Get You Higher
Total comments: 0
So you’re eying the rim and you want to dunk that ball in, or you just simply want to improve your vertical jump because you never know when you might need to pull a frisbee out of a tree. Let’s be honest, improving vertical jump performance is not something that comes easy, but takes time, dedication and persistence. So let’s say you’ve got all that, how do you get started? We’ll get a brief overview of the importance of body weight and leg strength. We’ll discuss improving vertical leap with plyometrics, psychology and calf training of this basic series on improving vertical leap. Obviously, all these topics can fill a book, so this is just a basic once over and you’ll find more detailed info on these topics elsewhere on the site.
Lower Launch Weight
You know why it takes so much fuel to get the shuttle into space? Because moving big weight big distance takes power. Vertical jump is all about your power to weight ratio. For a lot of people, it will be easier to lower the weight than to increase the power. Do both and you can accelerate your vertical jump improvement. Obviously, this is a big topic. There’s a whole shelf of books on weight loss at your local Barnes and Nobles, but here are some basic suggestions:
Increase Leg Strength
Strength is a function of the amount you can lift. Power is a matter of how quickly you can set that mass in motion. To jump you need power, but to build power, you need strength. In fact, exercise physiologists have determined that we humans have maximum power when we are working at about 70% of our maximum strength output. So if you want more power, you do need to get stronger. For leg strength, there are two exercises that are absolute kings: squats and deadlifts. Many people misunderstand the difference, thinking that if the bar is on your shoulders it’s a squat and if you grab the bar off the floor, it’s a deadlift. In fact, you can do a low-grip squat with the right equipment and the key difference is whether your center of gravity is forward and the legs start relatively straight, and you bend a lot at the waist (deadlift) or you’re more back and you bend mostly at the knees (squat).
Jumping Power with Plyometrics
Strength is great, but of course, you need to be able to set that strength in motion. Plyometric exercises will help with that. Very simply, plyometric exercises enable landing and quickly rebounding. This causes a pre-contraction in your muscles and boosts rebound power. In other words, you’re training the exact skill you’ll need to jump higher.
Talk Yourself Higher
Another recent study (Tod, 2009) said that athletes who talk to themselves ahead of their jumps can jump higher. The study divided athletes into four groups. The motivational group said aloud "I can jump high". The instructional group said "bend and drive". The neutral group counted back from 1000 by sevens and the final group didn’t say anything. Researchers found no significant difference between the motivational and instructional groups (the instructional group did slightly better), but both of those groups did significantly better than the neutral and the non-talk groups. This study showed that the motivational and instructional talkers actually generated more power.
Overwhelmingly, it’s the large hip flexor muscles in the legs (glutes, hamstrings and quads) that are responsible for getting you up to launch speed. The smaller ankle flexor muscles of the lower leg, however, have been shown to contribute 23% of the work in a vertical jump (Caruso, 2008, based on Hubley), so you don’t want to neglect these either. You’ll already be working these somewhat in your plyometric exercises, but you can add in some calf raises. There are specialized machines for this at most gyms, but you can simply grab some dumbells, put your toes on a board, and lift your heels off the ground. That will give you a little extra stength to burn at the take-off point.
|Total comments: 0|
|Total comments: 0|