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Vertical Jump Training: how to explode to the next level

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Vertical Jump Training: how to explode to the next level

By: Michael Harper

 

Why is the vertical jump test seen as such an important test for measuring athletic performance? To answer this question, analysis of what the vertical jump actually measures must first be investigated. The vertical jump test is a measure of anaerobic muscular power or high-speed muscular strength. The test is determined by the speed of the body’s center of gravity at the moment of takeoff.

Looking at the speed of the body at the moment of takeoff or anaerobic power, the same type of power used in many sports, can be thought of as an indicator of athletic performance and/or potential. There are some flaws with the vertical jump as pointed out by the Baechle and Earle in the Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning that the test does not account for bodyweight factors. If an individual were to test on the vertical jump and then re-test at a later point in time, the results may indicate the same results when the individual is actually exerting a higher amount of power output due to a heavier weight (p.390, 2000).

Overall the vertical jump is a sound and easy comparison method for measures of explosiveness. While I do not recommend training athletes for a test, I do recommend training athletes using methods that will affect their overall performance and as a result be shown in a test. Many jump training programs focus on a lot of things and thus become very complicated. I try to remind myself of the K.I.S.S. principle of Keep It Simple Stupid as I often get roped into looking at the simple way of training – the idea of if it doesn’t seem like a great new and innovative training method then it must not work, but look back at history and you will not see ancient athletes who used these complex methods, but just simple training. (not that some of the new complex training methods don’t give us a great advantage)

As a result, I believe that much of the training for explosiveness and especially for vertical jump training can occur by just performing vertical jumps. There are some requirements for this type of training or any other type of training as if an individual does not have a strong enough strength base then no matter what you do they will not have great success. So please do not think I am saying that we should eliminate squats or such from vertical jump training, but I believe the simple act of performing vertical jumps along with normal strength training can have great results.

I agree, it almost sounds too simple – perform vertical jumps to train – so there are actually a few other things too. I recommend performing these vertical jumps with incremental amounts of weights. When strength training we add weight to what we are lifting and often see great results – this is the same concept.

I recommend having athletes perform a program similar to as follows:

Week 1 –
Week 2 –
Week 3 –
2-3 sets –
4 sets –
6 sets –
25# plate in hand 35# plate in hand 45# plate in hand

6 squat jumps

4 squat jumps

3 squat jumps

6 deep squats

4 deep squats

3 deep squats

10# plate in hand 25# plate in hand 35# plate in hand

6 squat jumps

4 squat jumps

3 squat jumps

6 deep squats

4 deep squats

3 deep squats

5# plate in hand 10# plate in hand 25# plate in hand

6 squat jumps

4 squat jumps

3 squat jumps

6 deep squats

4 deep squats

3 deep squats

No weight –
hands straight up
No weight –
hands straight up
No weight –
hands straight up

6 squat jumps

4 squat jumps

3 squat jumps

Using hands Using hands Using hands

6 deep squats

4 deep squats

3 deep squats

6 squat jumps

4 squat jumps

3 squat jumps

One time straight through the above routine is the equivalent to one set.
Between sets is a great time to hit some abdominal work!

This program can be progressed by adding more weight while jumping and/or increasing the number of sets. I do not recommend increasing the reps as part of the program is to ensure that fast twitch muscles are being worked for increased anaerobic power and not aerobic output.

The above mentioned program is simply performing the vertical jump but by adding weight, just as you would for a bench press program. When looking at performance evaluators it is easy to forget simple logic, but hopefully this vertical jump program will increase anaerobic power output not only for the test but in athletic endeavors.


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About The Author:

Michael Harper, SCCC, USAW, Head Strength & Conditioning Coach at Tarleton State University . He can be contacted at Harper@tarleton.edu or through his website at www.Tri4Fitness.Net .

 

 

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