5 Ways To Improve Your Vertical Jump

5 Ways To Improve Your Vertical Jump

Although basketball and volleyball players are typically the ones most interested in developing a better vertical jump, this skill is applicable to athletes in all team sports.
Your vertical jump tests how much force you can drive into the ground. This is something you need to maximize both your speed and agility along with a bunch of sport skills like kicking, throwing, hitting, shooting and so on.
Just about every young athlete would see an increase in their athletic performance when their vertical jump improves.
So how do you improve it?
It isn't quite as simple as just going out and jumping. Although that does help, to see the greatest improvements you'd want to focus on all of the areas below, especially the ones where you have the greatest current deficiency.
The force you put into the ground is a function of both your strength and the rate at which you can exert that force. By improving on the first variable, you increase your ability to generate force.
Squats, deadlifts, hip thrusts, lunging, single leg drills and all the variations of these exercises will increase your vertical jump potential. Of course, that only happens if you use the principle of progressive overload and continually make upward gains in the weights you can lift properly.
Quite obviously, developing the other variable - increasing the rate of force produced - will also make you better.
Picture the muscles in your lower body stretching as you squat down to begin your vertical, and then snapping you into the air as you jump. Muscles act like rubber bands, storing energy when lengthened then releasing it upon contraction.
Using exercises like plyometrics, explosive Olympic style lifts, and even simply sprinting at full speed will enhance the elastic/rubber band properties of your muscles
Picture yourself completing a vertical jump test, then putting on a 20 pound weight vest and trying to get the same score.
You're probably not going to match your score with the weight vest on, right?
When we develop poor eating habits - avoiding proteins and produce while increasing empty calorie foods - we gain stored bodyfat that essentially is like a weight vest you can't take off.
Even a couple of pounds of improvement in your body composition, gained through nutrition and not wildly overdone cardio training, can on its own lead to an improved vertical.
Limitations in your ability to bend at the ankle, knee or hip will prevent you from fully loading your 'springs' (muscles) as you squat to begin the test.
Limitations in your ability to extend the ankle, knee, hip and shoulder as you reach up will also lower your score.
We spend a lot of time in our program monitoring for ankle, hip and shoulder tightness that can increase injury risk, but right along with that are the performance benefits an athlete can gain by removing these mobility restrictions.
Provided it is not overdone, actual jumping develops the movement-specific strength and coordination necessary to score higher in the VJ test.
Research clearly shows benefits to single leg jumps as they relate to improving your overall vertical jump abilities. As most younger athletes have a stronger and weaker leg, developing each separately can potentially be more beneficial than just doing two-leg jumps all the time.
The vertical jump test is used in many pro sports combines because it offers a quick snapshot to athleticism.
Younger athletes who see theirs steadily rise over time can be confident their overall athleticism is going up right along with it. They would be wise to track it on occasion to see how they are progressing.

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