Sports training and physical preparation to increase performance must be directed according to the physiological and muscular demands that are requested during their development. Cinderella workout/. In dozens of sports disciplines a certain ability in vertical jump is required to be able to successfully carry out the rest of the technical-tactical tasks: basketball, volleyball, handball and even soccer in certain actions.
".ucfirst($data[randkey]).". The objective of this article is to review the literature about the methodologies that aim to increase the vertical jump and the main characteristics of each of them (intensity, volume, frequency, exercises)
The vertical jump is also used in many tests and competitions to assess physical condition, as it is a reliable indicator of general muscle power.
Today we will see the technique and the best exercises to reach higher. If you have to take a test, you will also learn two "secrets" that will allow you to increase your vertical jump in a few minutes before the test.
Improving vertical jump
Jumping is an expression of power, and power is force x speed. Therefore, we will jump higher if we improve our strength and the speed at which we can deploy it.
But power without control is useless. The correct technique represents this control. It will allow you to jump more and injure yourself less.
And in this case, the order of the factors does affect the result. Strength is the foundation, and good technique is a prerequisite:
- Working speed with a weak body is inefficient. A novice will improve his vertical jump more by gaining strength than by training jumps.
- Adding intensity (speed) on a dysfunction (bad technique) is dangerous. First move well, then move fast.
- Strength can be improved much more than speed. You can continue to gain strength (and therefore improve your jump) even if you reach the limit of your speed.
In short, first strength and jumping technique, then speed. Once a minimum strength is achieved, a joint program (strength and plyometrics) will give better results than a program that only works one of them.
The best way to add strength to your lower body is clear: do squats.
The next question would be what kind of squat?
##desc2##. Unfortunately many trainers continue to recommend the partial squat. Some because they believe that it is safer (it is not) and others because they think that it simulates the movement of the jump better. But remember that you do not squat to work your jump technique, but to gain strength, and the best way to gain strength is with a full range of motion.
For example, this study looked at the effect of a 10-week program with three types of squat: 1) deep, 2) deep front, and 3) partial. The conclusions:
- The deep squat improved the vertical jump (2.5 cm), while the partial squat produced no benefit in the jump.
- The deep squat did not have a significant effect on explosive strength, but the partial squat had a negative effect. This result is logical: to improve explosive strength you have to train it directly, as we will see below.
In short, don't do partial squats. If you want to improve your vertical jump, you must improve your deep squat (with the maximum range of motion that allows you to maintain good technique).
Explosive speed or force
The vertical jump depends on the efficiency of the nervous system, the ability to store elastic energy in muscles and tendons and the use of the myotatic reflex.
The plyometrics improve all these components at once.
We can distinguish three types of plyometric exercises:
- With high impact.
- With low impact.
- No impact.
They all have their utility. As we will see in the next installment, I recommend using low-impact plyometrics in the warm-up or in the first exercises of the training. We will focus below on the best plyometrics with high impact and zero impact.
Plyometrics with impact
One of the main goals we pursue is to optimize the Stretch-Shorten (CEA) cycle.
The CEA works in the following way: when you bend down (flexing the hips, knees and ankles), your muscles and tendons stretch, charging with elastic energy, similar to what happens when you stretch a rubber band. By reversing the movement quickly, that energy is released, helping to propel you, allowing you to jump higher than if you started the movement from a static position.
Although all exercises that involve jumping or explosive movements are useful in this area, we will focus on those that have more scientific support in terms of their usefulness for vertical jump and sports that require it, such as volleyball and basketball: box jump, counter movement jump and depth/drop jump (study, study, study).
Box jump (platform jump)
Start with a height that allows you to land in the same position that you take off. This has greater transfer to most sports.
Later incorporate higher platforms, landing in a deep squat position. The idea is to accustom the body to landing in multiple postures and situations.
Counter movement jump
According to studies like this, it is the best plyometric exercise to improve vertical jump. It is also used in many tests since, by immobilizing the arms, it isolates the power component from the lower body.
When practicing it to improve your vertical jump you can also use the version with arms to generate more momentum.
The depth jump was invented by the Russian coach Verkhoshansky and, according to many, is one of the weapons used by the Soviet bloc, in the middle of the Cold War, to master tests that required explosiveness. Another of his 'secret' weapons was steroid-free use, but let's get back to business.
As we have seen, one of the keys to the jump is the speed of the descent, which maximizes the accumulated elastic energy, the myotatic reflex and the activation of the nervous system (detail).
How to get down faster? Helping us from gravity. If we drop from a raised platform we will hit the ground faster and "bounce" higher.
There is no single technique for jumping, and you should practice in many ways. Real life doesn't always allow you to get into an optimal position for takeoff. But as far as possible, follow these guidelines:
- For starters, straight body and slightly arched back, with arms extended overhead. You can lean on the balls of your feet to pick up some more speed.
- Lower your arms violently back, flexing your hips at the same time. As you descend, bring your hips back, as if you were doing a squat. The hip flexion should be about 90 °, with a knee extension of about 20-30 °.
- But more than the exact angles, the key is the speed of the descent, and that is where most fail. Remember Newton's 3rd law: "Every action generates an equal and opposite reaction." The faster you go down, the higher you will get.
- Look up for a more vertical jump. The body follows the head. If you look straight ahead, you are more likely to jump at an angle, losing height.
- If you are in a test where you must mark the jump with your hand, make sure that your arm is as vertical as possible. If you have little shoulder mobility you will lose inches.
- Ankle extension is maintained throughout the flight, landing on the balls of your feet first.
Vertical jump training: ##desc2##
Once the technical characteristics that define vertical jump have been broken down, we must analyze what methodologies exist to improve the performance of this aptitude. As a summary, as written above, jumping depends on muscle power (strength and speed), the elastic capacity of the muscle-tendon system, and technique.
The first step would be to know our strengths and weaknesses to know what to influence more, thus complying with the individualization of training. This can be achieved through validated tests such as Squat Jump (SJ) and Counter Movement Jump (CMJ).
- Squat Jump (SJ): starting from a position with the knees bent, with the hands on the waist so that the action of the arms does not influence the development of the movement, we will perform a vertical jump.
- Counter Movement Jump (CMJ): unlike the previous one, in the CMJ you start from a position with the knees extended to subsequently flex them prior to the vertical jump.
According to various authors, we can clarify the orientation of training by comparing these two jumping modalities (5). If the difference is greater than 20%, it will mean that our CEA, or elastic storage capacity, is noticeable and we must orient physical training towards improving muscle strength.
If, on the contrary, the difference is less than 20%, our training should be focused on working on both qualities if we want to improve our jump.
Training and exercises - ##desc2##
After evaluating which physical capacity is the one that should predominate in the programming, the next step is to determine the modality of the exercises that we will include in the sessions.
Below are three of the many possible options that can integrate a specific routine to improve vertical jump in sports.
- General training. It seeks to improve the contractile force of the muscles involved in jumping, in eccentric and concentric phases and for strength and power. The squat and its variants is one of the essential exercises in this objective.
- Specific training. They are intended to improve the stretch-shortening cycle process (CEA) for a better use of elastic-reactive energy. The number one methodology for this type of specific training is plyometrics.
- Special training. According to the author, it is about the integration of both exercise modes: movements where contractile force is trained in situations that require CEA. The best example is the jump squat.
In summary, it could be stated that in order to increase the vertical jump by a few centimeters, it is necessary to assess what fitness we should improve according to the sport we practice, thanks to the SJ and CMJ test.
The methodologies to train the least developed variable will be directed towards strength and speed exercises, elastic-reactive improvement or the integration of both training modalities. The ideal is to establish an individual progression that goes from simple movements with guided exercises towards the imitation of the sports gesture to train.