Whether you’re a youth athlete dreaming of making it to the big leagues, or an older adult who plays rec sports for fun (or anywhere in-between) – your ability to jump is going to be an important part of your athletic performance.
A higher vertical jump can give you an edge over the competition and enhance your overall athletic ability. Even if you’re in a sport where jumping isn’t as important, improving your ability to generate power throughout your body will translate into faster sprinting or skating ability (among other athletic abilities).
While I can’t promise you’ll soar through the air like Lebron James after using these tips, I can confidently say if you implement these tips, you’ll add a little more spring in your step
- Power Up with Strength Training
One of the best ways to improve your vertical jump is to build strength. Exercises such as squats and deadlifts can help you develop a stronger lower body, but we shouldn’t neglect our single leg exercises like lunges, step-ups and single-leg deadlifts. It’s very rare in most sports we are jumping off both feet, so training each leg individually will be extremely beneficial.
Focus on either building strength in the workout, or moving the weight at higher speeds (in a controlled setting) for best results. Don’t forget, core training will also play a big factor in increasing our ability to produce force.
For more advanced lifters – movements like a Snatch or a Clean will be highly beneficial to improving your jumping ability and explosiveness to add inches onto your vertical
- Add REAL Plyometric Training
Plyometric exercises involve explosive movements that can help you improve your vertical jump. Exercises like box jumps, depth jumps, and jump squats can help you develop power and speed. Incorporating plyometric exercises into your training routine once or twice a week will be highly beneficial.
A HUGE mistake many athletes will make with plyometric training is that they will focus heavily on performing a high volume of repetitions, rather than focus on the quality of the movement, and how fast they can perform the exercise. We don’t want our plyometric exercise sessions to be a cardio replacement. We want to be focusing on improving the explosiveness and height of our jump. Aiming for 3 – 5 high quality, explosive reps rather than 20 reps with a declining amount of exertion will translate into better results.
Keep quality in the top of your mind, not quantity.
- Increase Your Range Of Motion
Your mobility is essential for improving your vertical jump. Tight/weak muscles can limit your range of motion and affect your jumping ability. Incorporating mobility exercises into your routine to improve flexibility in the hips, hamstrings and ankles will be highly beneficial not only for your jumping ability, but your longevity in sport as well.
While the majority of the population will instantly think of Static Stretching to improve their mobility – we actually want to use a more active way of improving our mobility. We want to use a version of PNF stretching which focuses on contracting and relaxing the muscle to not only work on adding more range of motion to our movements, but to strengthen our body in that range so we can actively use it in sport. Remember – stretching is NOT passive, it is an ACTIVE form of exercise.
I dive into this topic more in the blog post here
- Proper Technique
Proper technique is another underrated area athletes will overlook. Jumping is a skill, just like your shot in basketball, swing in golf, or skate stride in hockey, you need to work on it to perfect it. Everyone can jump, it’s one of the movement patterns we learn at a very young age, but that doesn’t mean we are doing it effectively or efficiently. Practicing both your jump, and your ability to land (and absorb impact) will help develop better athletic ability and stay in the game much longer.
Some common issues I’ve seen would include:
- Not using an arm swing to generate force
- Knees collapsing during the loading phase of the jump or during the landing
- Focusing on tucking the knees rather than extending through the hip
Working with an Edmonton Personal Trainer or Coach to assess your jumping technique would be highly beneficial for most athletes to improve their vertical jump ability
As with all types of training, rest and recovery will be an important aspect of improving your ability to jump as well. Allowing the body to recover adequately between training sessions is vital for your performance. Focusing on sleep quality, proper nutrition, and hydration – along with give your muscles and joints time to recover will be almost as important as the training itself.
Improving your vertical jump takes time and effort. Incorporate these tips into your workout routine and be patient. With consistency and dedication, you can improve your vertical jump and take your athletic ability to the next level – if you need more assistance in improving your jump ability, RK Athletics is here to help you with Online Personal Training, or Personal Training in Edmonton
Reach out today for more information on how we can work together!
Everyone’s An Athlete with RK Athletics
Owner & Personal Trainer