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Improve Your Vertical Jump To Improve Speed

Posted Sep 24 2008 11:39am
Your vertical jump height is an indication of the power in your lower body and an indication of your speed. You need a comprehensive training program to improve your vertical leap.

Many times, plyometrics are over-emphasized and other aspects of training are not adequately done by the athlete. A certain amount of strength ( core and overall) is needed to enhance your jumping power. Quadriceps, hamstrings, hips, glutes and calves are targets for improvement if you want your vertical leap to improve. Squats, lunges, leg presses, step ups, hip abductors and calf raises are all good exercises to improve lower body strength. Also, the hang clean is a great exercise because you execute the exercise from the same position that you jump from (or the power position).

How much lower body strength do you need to develop optimum power? A male should be able to squat his body weight 8-10 times and a female should be able to squat about 75% of her body weight 8-10 times. If you are not able to squat, then you should be able to leg press about 1.5 times your body weight 8-10 times.

It doesn't help you to continually get stronger if power development is not there also.Power, or speed strength (how fast your muscles can produce force) is one of the best physical predictors of success in sports.

This is where plyometrics would come into play. Plyometrics is jump training and is definitely sport specific. Squat jumps (bodyweight and resisted), which are pictured above, are great for plyometric work. When performing depth jumps, never jump off a box that is higher than your vertical leap.

I recommend doing plyometric work 2 times a week and speed work 2 times a week. Strength work can be done 3 times a week. You should do your plyometric work on the same day that you do lower body strength training. Lower body plyometrics would be done before your leg strength work because plyometrics are done with maximum effort. Therefore, you need to be fresh. A more advanced technique would be to immediately follow a strength exercise with a biomechanically similar plyometric exercise. An example would be to do a set of squats at 85% of one rep maximum followed by a set of bodyweight squat jumps. This method has been proven to develop optimum power but it should only be used by advanced athletes.

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