If you play basketball or volleyball, or you’re a high jumper in track & field, you know the importance of jumping in your sport. Without excellent leaping ability, you wouldn’t be able to beat an opponent to a rebound, go up for a smash or propel yourself over the bar.
Jumping is also important across other sports, including softball and soccer. Think leaping up to catch a line drive or taking wing to head a ball for a goal. In addition, explosive jumping ability is directly correlated to increased running speed.
So, no matter what sport you play, training to improve your jumping ability will improve your performance and make you a better overall athlete.
Here are two ways to improve your jumping ability. Select one plyometric exercise and one explosive exercise and incorporate them into your lower-body workout. For best results, perform plyometrics after your Dynamic Warm-Up and before your explosion exercises. Perform any strength exercises after the plyometric and explosive exercises so as to limit the effects of fatigue on your workout.
Plyometrics, commonly referred to as jump training, force you to produce maximum power in as little time as possible. Plus, lower-body plyometric exercises, like the Squat Jump or Depth Jump, reinforce your jump mechanics, which helps increase power in your jumping muscles. Try the plyometric exercises below for increased jumping ability.
- Holding lightweight dumbbells at sides, assume athletic stance with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width
- Lower into Squat position, then explosively jump as high as possible
- Land softly in Squat position and immediately perform again
- Repeat for specified reps
• Assume athletic stance on edge of plyo box
• Step forward off box and land softly on ground
• Immediately explode up, jumping as high as possible
• Land softly on ground with bent knees
• Return to start and repeat for specified reps
2. Explosive Exercises
Explosive exercises (see our previous coverage) are among the best ways to develop power for female athletes. Olympic lifts, such as the Power Clean and the Snatch, are excellent for increasing jumping height, because they require a powerful triple extension of the hips, knees and ankles, similar to jumping. They are typically performed with weight, which forces your muscles to quickly contract against resistance to further increase power and overall jumping ability.
- Starting with bar on floor, grip it with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width
- Keeping low back tight, move chest over bar and push hips back
- Explode upward by forcefully shrugging with straight arms and fully extending hips, knees and ankles
- Pull bar up, keeping it close to chest
- Drop under bar with bent knees, catching bar on front of shoulders with elbows forward
- Powerfully extend at knees and hips to upright stance
- Lower to start position; repeat for specified reps
- Assume athletic stance holding bar with wide grip at mid-thigh
- Keeping chest up and core tight, explode upward by fully extending hips, knees and ankles while forcefully shrugging with straight arms
- Pull bar up close to chest
- Drop under bar and catch it overhead in athletic stance with arms straight
- Return to start position; repeat for specified reps
Stay tuned for another post on how to hone your jumping technique to increase your vert and reduce your chance of injury.
Photo: Getty Images