Jump to Build Explosive Speed

STACK Expert Rick Scarpulla explains why explosive jump training will make you faster on the field and shows you how to mix it up.

Squat Jump

One of your top priorities as an athlete is to develop explosive power. It does not matter what sport you play, how old you are or what gender you are...you must be explosive. Why? Because explosiveness directly correlates to how fast you will be on the field.

Coaches will tell you "speed kills." This is true to an extent, but it's not specific enough, which leads people to believe that top-end speed is the main goal. In reality, it's the first few steps that matter the most. You must build explosive speed for short distances to beat your opponent to a play.

How Jumping Builds Explosive Speed

The easiest and most effective ways to get explosive is plyometrics, which are a form of jump training. That's right—jumping to get faster. It may seem counterintuitive, but plyometrics teach your muscles to exert max force in as little time as possible. That's the definition of power. (Learn how to perfect your vertical jump.)

Quickness is derived from explosive power in the hips, hamstrings and glutes, with a little help (but not much) from the calves. The simple act of recoiling and jumping builds those muscle groups so you can drive back into the ground and propel your body forward. (Try these plyo speed exercises.)

Jumping also improves linear speed. A faster acceleration will help you get to your goal faster. For example, a faster first 10 yards in the 40 will yield a better time, even if your max speed does not change.

Explosive Jump Training

Jump training to get faster involves more than simply jumping up and down. You need to do all types of different jumps, including:

  • Jumps for distance
  • Jumps for height
  • Single-leg jumps
  • Jumps over hurdles
  • Jumps onto boxes
  • Landings
  • Weighted jumps
  • Resisted jumps
  • Speed jumps

I think you get the picture. It's important to mix up your jumps. But above all else, you need to jump on a regular basis. Every lower-body or speed-training session should include some type of jump training.

At Ultimate Advantage, we do between 100 to 400 touches per week. If you do a hurdle jumping drill, a set of ten to each side equals 20 touches.

Higher impact jumps, such as Weighted Jumps and Drop Jumps, should be limited to 75 touches per week. Sometimes we limit reps to 5-8 for three sets per exercise. This allows you to perform each rep with maximum power and reduces impact on your joints.

You don't have to perform crazy-difficult exercises to achieve your desired results. Focus on doing the types of movements mentioned above—correctly and with max power. If you need some exercise inspiration, check out the Ultimate Advantage Speed Box in the video below. Train Hard, Train Smart!

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock