Six Steps to Improve your Vertical Jump

While vertical jump performance is often associated with basketball and specific track and field events, every athlete can benefit from learning how to apply force into the ground quickly and absorb it with proper landing mechanics. While jumping is a skill and proficiency can be developed through repetition, increasing strength through Deadlift and Squat variations contributes greatly to your vertical. Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of exercises that can be used but these foundational movements are a great place to start.

As you rise onto your toes, reach over head. In one motion, briefly leave the ground, snap your arms down to your side, and absorb the landing on two legs. Focus on the knee alignment and correct coordination of your arms.

As you rise onto your toes, reach over head. In one motion, briefly leave the ground, snap your arms down to your side, and absorb the landing on two legs. Focus on the knee alignment and correct coordination of your arms.

Load your hips and snap your arms down by your side. Achieve triple extension by pushing through the ground and driving your hips through. Your landing posture should resemble your takeoff position. The goal is to achieve maximal hip displacement while reducing the impact by landing on the box. The goal is never to land in greater degrees of hip flexion just to increase the height of the box.

Load your hips and snap your arms down by your side. Achieve triple extension by pushing through the ground and driving your hips through. Your landing posture should resemble your takeoff position. The goal is to achieve maximal hip displacement while reducing the impact by landing on the box. The goal is never to land in greater degrees of hip flexion just to increase the height of the box.

All of the same technique cues from the “Box Jump” slide apply. Hold one dumbbell in each hand. Make sure the amount of weight doesn’t alter your jumping and landing mechanics.

All of the same technique cues from the “Box Jump” slide apply. Hold one dumbbell in each hand. Make sure the amount of weight doesn’t alter your jumping and landing mechanics.

 

During the countermovement portion, an athlete is instructed to quickly dip and use a great deal of eccentric and concentric muscle action to abruptly reverse direction to jump upwards. While the Box Jump reduces the landing impact, during a Countermovement Jump the athlete is required to absorb a greater deal of force. This would effect how you determine which variation to use as well as the amount of volume you prescribe.

During the countermovement portion, an athlete is instructed to quickly dip and use a great deal of eccentric and concentric muscle action to abruptly reverse direction to jump upwards. While the Box Jump reduces the landing impact, during a Countermovement Jump the athlete is required to absorb a greater deal of force. This would effect how you determine which variation to use as well as the amount of volume you prescribe.

During a Depth Box Jump an athlete steps off of the first box and quickly jumps up to the second box. Athletes are instructed to minimize ground contact time between the boxes. An athlete’s strength, rate of force development, and “elasticity” will determine how high the first box should be. If you notice the athlete struggling to quickly leave the ground, it is likely that the height of the first box should be reduced. However, there is merit to using shorter and higher boxes with varying degrees of ground contact time.

During a Depth Box Jump an athlete steps off of the first box and quickly jumps up to the second box. Athletes are instructed to minimize ground contact time between the boxes. An athlete’s strength, rate of force development, and “elasticity” will determine how high the first box should be. If you notice the athlete struggling to quickly leave the ground, it is likely that the height of the first box should be reduced. However, there is merit to using shorter and higher boxes with varying degrees of ground contact time.

One of our favorite compound strength movements is the Trap Bar Deadlift. You’ll notice that the starting position closely resembles that of the Box Jump position and repetitions are completed by a powerful hip extension pattern. We encourage athletes to create tension by “bending the handle” and gripping the floor. We want athletes to think about pushing into the floor more so than pulling the bar off of the ground.

One of our favorite compound strength movements is the Trap Bar Deadlift. You’ll notice that the starting position closely resembles that of the Box Jump position and repetitions are completed by a powerful hip extension pattern. We encourage athletes to create tension by “bending the handle” and gripping the floor. We want athletes to think about pushing into the floor more so than pulling the bar off of the ground.

Whether an athlete can progress through a given exercise is influenced by several factors: training age, strength, and predisposed athletic qualities all dictate whether an athlete needs more or less time with a given movement. It is important that the athlete understands the purpose of the exercise and has the prerequisite level of strength so that they can perform it safely and with the proper intent.

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