Individualization is a training principle that needs to be considered when writing a performance program for your vertical jump training. There are many factors on which the training program can be individualized. Testing eccentric utilization ratio (EUR) is one of them, and in this article, I will explain the details about it.
What’s Eccentric Utilization Ratio, and why does it matter?
EUR represents how well one can transfer energy from the eccentric (muscle lengthening) phase and utilize it during athletic movements via the stretch and shortening cycle. A better transfer improves the performance of many athletic movements, vertical jump included.
How to calculate EUR?
First, you must measure countermovement (CMJ) and squat jumps (SJ). At least 3s pause and no “dip” must be performed during the SJ. For some athletes, it may take several attempts before a correct repetition is achieved.
Hands should be kept on the hips to minimize the arms’ contribution to the jump. Ideally, the same depth should be achieved during both types of jumps. And obviously, give your best effort for every single attempt! See the videos below of how to perform these jumps.
Video 1. Squat Jump
Video 2. Counter Movement Jump
I suppose you don’t have access to a force plate or a contact mat to measure your vertical. In that case, you can use a cheap yet accurate MyJumpApp2 application on your smartphone (your phone should ideally be capable of slow-motion recording of at least 120fps).
Then you’ll simply need to divide your CMJ from a SJ. The number you’ll get is EUR. For example:
20 inch(CMJ)/17 inch(SJ) = 1.18 EUR
How to use EUR in guiding your vertical jump training?
There are several ways in which EUR can be interpreted to guide programming decisions. Still, evaluating results in the context of the overall testing profile is essential.
Indicative of poor utilization of elastic energy during the lowering phase of the jump. For younger and/or less experienced athletes, low to medium-intensity jump exercises should do the trick. Various hops, bounding, split squat/scissor jumps and regular jump squats are simple but effective choices.
There are several options for more experienced athletes who possess good general strength levels and are no strangers to jump and plyometric exercises yet demonstrate low EUR. High-intensity plyometrics such as depth/drop jumps, hurdle jumps, and single-leg bounding can be powerful tools for improving elasticity.
In the weight room, focusing on the eccentric force rate of development and isometric strength abilities can help to improve eccentric utilization. Fast eccentrics, reactive eccentrics/isometric, and accentuated eccentric training methods can be utilized.
While no studies show that EUR can be too high, based on personal experience, athletes with EUR of >1.2 likely lack pure muscular power. These athletes would benefit from improving maximal strength and strength-speed abilities. Classical exercises like squats, deadlifts, split squats, cleans, and heavily loaded jumps and their derivatives are great options.
These athletes can be considered well-balanced. They have well-developed elastic and force development abilities that go well together instead of overshadowing each other and limiting jump performance. A more force-based jumper will be close to 1.1 EUR, while a speed/elastic type athlete will steer closer to EUR of 1.2.
A balanced strength/power and plyometric emphasis should be prescribed for this type of athlete unless additional tests indicate otherwise.
Individualization of training is important, and EUR is one of the measures that can help individualize a performance program. Like any other measure, it’s not perfect and doesn’t provide the whole picture. Yet, when combined with other diagnostic tests, it can help make better programming decisions.
Kozinc, Ž., Pleša, J. and Šarabon, N., 2021. Questionable Utility of the Eccentric Utilization Ratio in Relation to the Performance of Volleyball Players. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(22), p.11754.
Mcguigan, M., Doyle, T., Newton, M., Edwards, D., Nimphius, S. and Newton, R., 2006. Eccentric Utilization Ratio. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 20(4), pp.992-995.
Schmarzo, M. and Van Dyke, M., 2018. Isometrics for Performance.
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