Most athletes will benefit from having a better vertical jump for their particular sport. To see some jump, is often awe inspiring and magnificent, no matter the sport. Some sports it is more important then others, like basketball, volleyball and snowboarding. However, AFL, soccer and even swimmers can have a benefit from jumping higher. So is your vertical leap something you are born with or can you work on it. Of course genetics helps massively, but with the right training anyone can increase their vertical jump. Every athlete wants to jump higher.
There are many ways to improve your vertical jump, but nothing works better then jumping.
Jump, jump, jump!
Jump all the time, whenever you can. Train your body to jump consistently, the more you jump, the more your body will learn this is normal and your vertical jump will improve more then anything else you can do.
There are different types of jumping and each sport has it’s own jumping characteristics. Any strength coach or athletic trainer should know what it is for the sport they are coaching. For years I was training swimmers to improve their vertical jump by strength training their legs. No one else was doing it, but I understood the necessity especially for sprinters that the start was a vital part of the race, especially in the 50m freestyle. If you were half a body length off in the first 15 meters it was very hard to win already.
There are also different types of jumpers, some have the ability to jump off two feet, where most will prefer a running start and jump off one foot. Other athletes can jump well once, however, the more elastic jumpers can jump once, but then land and jump straight up again and repetitively, with very similar vertical leaps, a lot of volleyballer's and basketballer's posses this ability.
There are several different ways to test for vertical leap. For instance in 2011, at an Australian Swimming Relay Camp, I tested for a standing static vertical and counter movement vertical jump. This tested the relay athletes ability to start the relay off or were they better suited with their jumping ability to go in the second, third or last leg. The results were quite outstanding and surprising to say the least.
If I had to choose one strength training exercise that you can do in the gym, it would have to be a Squat push press. It is the single best strength exercise, one because unlike Olympic lifting almost anyone can do it and it is a much easier progression then attempting a power snatch.
You always as an athlete, need to look at the return of an exercise to the risk of injury. It is my belief to always be on the side of caution, hence training an inexperience athlete in the gym to do Olympic lifting can often be detrimental to their sporting performance, as well as the risk of injury.
The easiest way to test your vertical jump, is to put a tape measure on a wall. From here reach up and take down your reach, as this will be your start point. With a little bit of chalk on your fingers, you are now ready to test your vertical jump. There are two common ways of testing. One is a static vertical jump, where you go into a squat position and then jump, recording the highest mark your chalked fingers make. An alternative way is a counter movement vertical jump, where you can step into your vertical jump, again recording the highest mark from your chalked fingers. Obviously your counter movement jump should be your best one, but I have seen it the other way around, which I can't explain to you, apart from their were swimmers. That said push them in the water and they turn into fish, it's just that some are literally fish out of water, when it comes to athleticism on the ground.
So what are you waiting for start jumping today and you will notice your vertical leap not only increases, but the ease you can jump higher will both surprise you and others! Enjoy your new vertical leap, for more information on athletic conditioning please don't hesitate to contact us. From the wanna be athletes playing a Dad's football game to aspiring Olympians, an increase vertical jump will benefit all athletes.