Whether it is for football fitness tests, so you can dunk a basketball or just because you want to push yourself, the vertical jump is a great tool in any athletes arsenal and it should be a goal for everyone to improve.
We are not all going to jump over vehicles like Blake Griffin but we can all use this in our different sports. There is also significant data which correlates a higher vertical jump to better powerlifting and Olympic lifting numbers. Whatever your interest you need to be improving this physical attribute.
There are 3 fundamental aspects of the vertical jump:
We will discuss the three aspects and how you can work on each in order to improve and reach greater heights…literally.
Increase Your Vertical Jump with Strength
Jumping focuses on specific leg muscles and so we shall do the same in our preparation. Our first exercise will be front squat drop sets. You will perform 5 sets of front squats after you have warmed up sufficiently and each set will consist of 5 heavy reps followed by 10 speed reps at a lighter weight, this constitutes one set.
Ideally you will set up two bars with different weights but if this is not possible just strip some weight off and get back at it. This will build strength in the quadriceps muscles and also focus on transferring that strength into a powerful quick movement which is what we want.
Improve Your Leap With Explosiveness
Box jumps have long been a tool used to enhance athletic performance and we will build on that with this variation. Our aim with this exercise is to stand on a fairly low box and position a higher box about 4 feet away. Standing straight step off the low box and hit the ground on both feet, as quickly and powerfully as possible explode up onto the higher box. This exercise takes the strength factor out of the box jump movement and allows you to focus 100% on the explosion.
Speed is critical on this exercise; you do not get time to settle on the ground. Perform 5 sets of 5 but make sure they are 5 good reps each set.
Jump Squats are performed with seriously low weight so be mindful of how much you think you can handle on these, I recommend warming up with the bar. Perform a normal squat and as you push through to the top of the movement explode up so you leave the floor with the barbell on your back, as you land control your descending movement as best you can and repeat.
These will burn up your legs very quickly so 5 sets of 10 should be a good goal. Make sure the jump is strong and always control the weight on the way down.
Practice Your Way To More Height
This may be a no-brainer for most of you but you want to keep practicing the actual jump. Perfect practice makes perfect so don’t push this until you are completely fatigued and it gets sloppy just make sure you get in some quality jumps at least a few times a week.
You don’t always have to measure your progress as you go but just get into the rhythm of doing it, work on foot position, make sure you are using your entire body to explode up and video yourself so you can see any flaws in the movement.
You will definitely feel more confident in doing it if you have practiced it a thousand times, with anything in life the more you do it the more comfortable you get and the more likely it is that you will be successful at it.
Message To Remember
These simple sets can be done as accessory movements around your current schedule or on an active rest day. When it comes to the bare bones of fitness you look at activities you can do out-with the gym that make you more athletic.
Picking up heavy things, jumping, running around, bodyweight movements – these are the things you take for granted until you need them so by working on this one movement you will be becoming more of an athlete and it will push you closer to your goals no matter what they are.