Do you play basketball, volleyball or other sports that require you to jump HIGH? Do you struggle to get that air or the quick release off the ground? Then this article is a must-read for you. 

You are not alone. Many people in their respective sports struggle to get the maximum height potential they can develop. Some will believe in order to jump higher, they must squat more weight. In ways this is true but it is also part of the answer. There are multiple factors that equate to a maximum vertical jump. In this article we will breakdown the three key factors that make a vertical jump and how to develop it further. Ask your personal trainer in Richmond on how to increase your vertical jump. 

Rate of force development

In order to jump high, three things need to occur; one of which is rate of force development (RFD). In other words, this is how fast you are able to develop force and how fast you are able to leave the ground. The faster you are able to produce maximum force, the higher you are able to jump. 

RFD is commonly believed to be developed during the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC). This is referred to the ‘pre-stretch’ action that is commonly observed during human movements such as jumping. 

Think of when you land on the ground after you jump off a curb. As you land on the ground, your calves, hamstrings and quads load up like a spring. 

In order to train the RFD, you can take advantage of this concept. Some exercises that are the key to training this are box jumps, sprints and various plyometric exercises. These movements train the body to utilize the SSC more and more efficiently in order to translate into your respective sports. Ask your personal trainer in Richmond on how to take advantage of the SSC for vertical jumping. 

Amount of force produced 

The previous concept was on how to produce as quickly as possible. In this section we talk about how much force you are able to develop as you jump. 

On one hand, it is as simple as “produce as much force as you can when you jump”. It is a very mechanical and “muscular” way of thinking. On the other hand, you are training your nervous system. By that I mean you have the ability to train your nervous system to produce the maximum amount of force that translates into your jumping. 

Some exercises that can be performed are weighted squat jumps, power cleans and/or medicine ball throws. The main idea here is to is to move as much weight as possible, as quickly as possible. 

It is critical that you maintain maximum speed during these exercises. With speed less than maximum, the movement becomes irrelevant. When you jump, maximum speed is needed to recruit all the muscle fibres in order to coordinate the joints needed to propel yourself upwards. So when you add weights to your power movements, ensure that it does not slow you down even for a bit.  

Athlete’s biomechanics 

Lastly, we can factor in an athlete’s biomechanics and how efficient he/she moves during a jump. This can be how far they bend their legs or how much trunk flexion he/she achieves before propelling themselves upwards. Every athlete jumps differently, but there is always a more “efficient” way of jumping per body type. 

One mechanical advantage I’d like to point out is arm swing. This plays a HUGE role when looking to achieving maximum vertical height. Many athletes neglect this factor because they overly focus on the lower body. Your arms are deadweight during a jump so you might as well use them to your advantage: SWING THEM! 

In my personal experience with jumping I have found that the arm swing can give almost as much of a push as the legs. The coordination and timing of your arm swing and jump is crucial. Your jump will have a terrible vertical if you cannot coordinate your arms and legs together. Ask your personal trainer in Richmond to show you a vertical jump that coordinates legs and arm swing. 

Until next time, 

Coach Marco 

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