Tag Archives: jump higher

6 Ways to Jump Higher

30 Jun

The ability to get up off your feet is obviously important in sports like basketball and volleyball.  But what about other sports?  Well, since your vertical jump is an indicator of your lower-body explosive power (and since lower-extremity strength and power is important for virtually all sports), it’s in every athlete’s best interest to develop his/her vertical jump performance.

Here are 6 ways to improve your vertical jump:

  1. Get stronger.  Jumping is about pushing your body away from the ground.  The stronger you are through the hips and legs, the greater the force you can generate against the ground.  Exercises like squatsdeadlifts (we like using the trap bar), glute-ham raises (on the bench or manual resistance), and Romanian deadlifts should be incorporated into your training plan.
  2. Develop your “fast-twitch” muscle fibers.  Your fast-twitch muscles are your body’s largest and have the most growth potential.  They are responsible for maximum effort jumps, sprints, and lifts.  However, to produce movement, your body recruits muscle fibers in an orderly progression from smallest to largest.  That means, in order to activate your fast-twitch muscle fibers, you must work at about 70% or more of your capacity (we benchmark at about 80% of an athlete’s 1RM) – heavy weight, low repetitions for most exercises.
  3. Contrast training.  This strategy will help you accelerate the development of lower-extremity strength and power (and it will also wear you out!).  Contrast training involves performing a strength exercise, immediately followed by an explosive movement.  An example would be to do a set of squats and proceed, without rest, to a set of squat jumps.
  4. Push the Prowler.  We love the weighted sled for the development of hip/leg drive, strength, and power.  You can push it and/or pull it, and adjust the weight to the needs and abilities of each individual athlete.  We use the Prowler as a workout “finisher” for many of our athletes, especially during their off-season training phase.
  5. Plyometrics.  Once you’ve built a strong foundation through strength training, it’s time to add plyometric exercises to your workout.  Plyometric training involves exercises that enable a muscle to reach maximum strength in as short a time as possible, using something called the Stretch-Shortening Cycle (SSC).  SSC is basically an eccentric(lengthening) muscle movement rapidly followed by a concentric(shortening) contraction.  Examples of plyometric exercises are box jumpsdepth/drop jumpshurdle jumps, and even jumping rope.
  6. Steer clear of injury.  Vertical jump training should include landing mechanics, since research shows that most non-impact knee injuries result from landing and/or cutting instability.  Balance and stability exercises are important additions to any vertical jump training program.  Biomechanical considerations, such as knee flexion, knee alignment, and hip motion should be closely observed.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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Master the Hang Clean to Develop Explosive Power

23 Mar

Hang-Clean[1]Want to jump higher?  Run faster?  Hit and throw harder and farther?  The Hang Clean is one of the best exercises you can do to build explosive strength.  This exercise emphasizes triple (hip, knee, ankle) extension, which is common to movements like running, jumping, hitting, and throwing.  I like the clean from the hang position (as opposed to the power clean from the floor position) because it’s relatively easy to learn and safe to perform, and there are few exercises that produce more power.  Like all Olympic lifts, technique is extremely important — the hang clean must be taught and performed correctly.  Here’s a video of U.S. Women’s Soccer player, Abby Wambach, performing the hang clean.

At Athletic Performance Training Center, we teach the hang clean in 3 phases:

  • Hang Shrug
  • Hang (high) Pull
  • Hang Clean

Here are some tips to ensure that you perform the hang clean with proper technique:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart
  • Hold bar with hands just wider than shoulder width
  • Assume “hang” position, with bar positioned just above knees
  • Use lower-body and hips to jump and drive bar upward
  • Use upper-body to pull bar upward with shrug and high elbows
  • Keep weight close to your body (linear); don’t swing the bar out in front of you
  • “Catch” bar with knees bent, on front shoulders, upper-arms parallel to ground

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Divide Your Strength and Power Training

14 Aug

t1_darius[1]Here’s some food for thought:  Researchers in Greece suggest that athletes shouldn’t mix power and strength training.

If your goal is to jump higher, throw harder, or sprint faster, the Greek study found that individuals who performed separate power workouts gained more explosiveness — a key element of athleticism — than those who combined their power and strength training.

The study suggested the following — once or twice a week, perform 3 sets of 8 explosive repetitions of these exercises:

  • Barbell Squat*
  • Bench Press*
  • Jump Squat
  • Broad Jump

* Use 30% of your 1-rep max (1RM)

To offer a different perspective (but well supported by exercise science and human performance research), at our facility we have helped athletes achieve impressive gains in explosive power by combining strength and power training, using contrast training (a set of heavy lifts, followed immediately with an explosive exercise using the same movement pattern, such as squats followed by jump squats or bench presses followed by explosive push-ups).

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

6 Ways to Jump Higher

19 Feb

highjump[1]The ability to get up off your feet is obviously important in sports like basketball and volleyball.  But what about other sports?  Well, since your vertical jump is an indicator of your lower-body explosive power (and since lower-extremity strength and power is important for virtually all sports), it’s in every athlete’s best interest to develop his/her vertical jump performance.

Here are 6 ways to improve your vertical jump:

  1. Get stronger.  Jumping is about pushing your body away from the ground.  The stronger you are through the hips and legs, the greater the force you can generate against the ground.  Exercises like squats, deadlifts (we like using the trap bar), glute-ham raises (on the bench or manual resistance), and Romanian deadlifts should be incorporated into your training plan.
  2. Develop your “fast-twitch” muscle fibers.  Your fast-twitch muscles are your body’s largest and have the most growth potential.  They are responsible for maximum effort jumps, sprints, and lifts.  However, to produce movement, your body recruits muscle fibers in an orderly progression from smallest to largest.  That means, in order to activate your fast-twitch muscle fibers, you must work at about 70% or more of your capacity (we benchmark at about 80% of an athlete’s 1RM) – heavy weight, low repetitions for most exercises.
  3. Contrast training.  This strategy will help you accelerate the development of lower-extremity strength and power (and it will also wear you out!).  Contrast training involves performing a strength exercise, immediately followed by an explosive movement.  An example would be to do a set of squats and proceed, without rest, to a set of squat jumps.
  4. Push the Prowler.  We love the weighted sled for the development of hip/leg drive, strength, and power.  You can push it and/or pull it, and adjust the weight to the needs and abilities of each individual athlete.  We use the Prowler as a workout “finisher” for many of our athletes, especially during their off-season training phase.
  5. Plyometrics.  Once you’ve built a strong foundation through strength training, it’s time to add plyometric exercises to your workout.  Plyometric training involves exercises that enable a muscle to reach maximum strength in as short a time as possible, using something called the Stretch-Shortening Cycle (SSC).  SSC is basically an eccentric (lengthening) muscle movement rapidly followed by a concentric (shortening) contraction.  Examples of plyometric exercises are box jumps, depth/drop jumps, hurdle jumps, and even jumping rope.
  6. Steer clear of injury.  Vertical jump training should include landing mechanics, since research shows that most non-impact knee injuries result from landing and/or cutting instability.  Balance and stability exercises are important additions to any vertical jump training program.  Biomechanical considerations, such as knee flexion, knee alignment, and hip motion should be closely observed.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Master the Hang Clean to Develop Explosive Power

8 Mar

Hang-Clean[1]Want to jump higher?  Run faster?  Hit and throw harder and farther?  The Hang Clean is one of the best exercises you can do to build explosive strength.  This exercise emphasizes hip extension, which is common to movements like running, jumping, hitting, and throwing.  I like the clean from the hang position (as opposed to the power clean from the floor position) because it’s relatively easy to learn and safe to perform, and there are few exercises that produce more power.  Like all Olympic lifts, technique is extremely important — the hang clean must be taught and performed correctly.  Here’s a video of U.S. Women’s Soccer player, Abby Wambach, performing the hang clean.

At Athletic Performance Training Center, we teach the hang clean in 3 phases:

  • Hang Shrug
  • Hang Pull
  • Hang Clean

Here are some tips to ensure that you perform the hang clean with proper technique:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart
  • Hold bar with hands just wider than shoulder width
  • Assume “hang” position, with bar positioned just above knees
  • Use lower-body and hips to jump and drive bar upward
  • Use upper-body to pull bar upward with shrug and high elbows
  • Keep weight close to your body (linear); don’t swing the bar out in front of you
  • “Catch” bar with knees bent, on front shoulders, upper-arms parallel to ground

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Master the Deadlift to Improve Athletic Performance

30 Nov

Want to get stronger, faster, and more powerful?  One exercise — the deadlift — can help you accomplish that, according to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

Exerting force against the ground is the foundation for basic sports movements like running, jumping, and throwing.  The deadlift effectively strengthens your core and lower body (back, hips, and legs), increasing the amount of force you can generate against the ground.  Regardless of the sport you play, this exercise can help you improve your game.

Watch Josh Cribbs perform the deadlift exercise.

As with any exercise, technique is important.  When performing the deadlift, it’s important to ensure that your hips and legs, and not your back, are doing most of the work.  Focus on hip drive.  Here are some tips for proper execution of this exercise:

  • Assume a stance with feet about hip width apart
  • Grip the bar with hands just wider than shoulder width
  • In “down” position, keep bar close to shins and hips pushed back
  • Arms straight, chest and chin up
  • Push hips forward and straighten knees to stand up
  • Squeeze glutes
  • Keep back straight and bar close to body
  • Lower bar to ground by reversing movement
  • Repeat
  • Aim for 3-5 sets of 4-6 repetitions at 80-90% 1RM; rest 2-3 minutes between sets

You can also perform the deadlift exercise with a “trap” bar.  This version is especially recommended for novices, as the side handles make the exercise much less back-intensive.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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