vertical jump training

In Season Jump Training

Written by Jack Woodrup for VerticalJumping.com

I frequently get questions about how to correctly approach in season jump training so I thought it was high time I wrote an article detailing the in's and out's of it.

how to jump higher and increase your vertical jump

How Should You Train In Season?

The obvious way to train your vertical jump in season is to do less. Or more specifically - less of what you are doing in your practices and games. Usually for an athlete who wants to jump high this nearly always means less plyometric type jumping drills. Lets face it, nearly any athlete who is training their vertical jump is playing a sport that requires them to do lots of jumping. If it didn't they probably wouldn't be training it. So if they are in season for their sport then logic would suggest that they are already doing lots of jumping.

So what does this leave us with? Mostly you are left with basic strength training as well as low impact explosive strength training.

Explosive Strength Training: A cool video showing some simple explosive strength training exercises.

There area number of reasons to focus on these goals in season. The first is that on the whole they are low impact and therefore easier on your joints. With all the high impact work of your sport and practices, the last thing you want to do is be introducing MORE high impact drills on top. It is almost certainly a fast track to injury. The second reason is that as strength is the foundation of power it is important to maintain, or in some cases, even improve your relative strength levels as best you can while competing.

This serves a number of purposes. By maintaining your strength levels you ensure that when the season finishes you still have a decent strength base from which to build upon. It also can help prevent injuries during the season. Finally, maintaining your strength in season will help you to better maintain your current levels of athleticism and help prevent a drop off in performance as the season progresses.

As a final note on this, for beginner athletes who lack basic strength it is quite possible for them to see increases in their vertical jump even when in season. This is because beginners generally respond very well to the introduction of strength work and when combined with the jumping they are doing in their games etc, they can see some pretty impressive improvements. Sadly, this won't normally apply to everyone else. During season you are often not fully rested and recovered, and as a result your training quantity and intensity has to decrease. Accordingly so should your expectations of massive gains. You can still improve, but often at much slower rates.

How Often Should You Train In Season?

When I suggested 3 or more hard sessions or games per week as being what I consider in season was a reason for that, and this has to do with the allowance you need to make for any extra sessions as well as getting enough rest. At 3 sessions per week you are usually playing or training nearly every second day. This allows a few spare days per week that you can devote to your in season vertical jump training.

Now, again depending on the sport you place, the intensity of the games and practices and so on, I generally like to ensure at least 2 full days of rest per week. Even allowing for a reduced training volume of in season vertical jump work, it is still a good idea to give the body and mind some days off to recover and re-charge.

So, based on this theory, if you train and play 3 times per week you can still do some form of vertical jump training on 2 other days. If you play or train 4 days per week, you have one day to spare, and if you play or train 5 or more days per week, forget it, just rest up.

meditation

Relax: Sometimes just chilling out is the best thing for your jump.

What is Considered In Season

Of course, before deciding to scale back your training it is probably a good idea to examine exactly what constitutes being in season. While it might seem straight forward enough to say an in season athlete is someone who is, well, competing in season. However, not all seasons are created equally. There are a a number of factors that need to be weighed. Each of these factors are quite important and depending on your situation, you will need to consider these carefully and modify your vertical jump training accordingly. Anyway, the major factors that will impact whether or not you can be considered in-season include:

  • The individuals ability to recover from workouts, practices and games. The better they can recover the more they work they can handle before they potentially start to become over trained and injured
  • The nature of their sport. If a sport involves lots of running, jumping, change of direction, and physical contact such as basketball then this is obviously going to be much harder on your body than a non contact sport such as volleyball.
  • The surface your sport is played on. If your sport is played on a harder surface you will bee able to tolerate less high impact training in season. Beach volleyball is an obvious example of something that is generally much easier on your joints than regular volleyball.
  • The intensity of your practices and games. I play pick up basketball with friends each Tuesday morning. It is fun but not particularly hard work, especially the way I 'play' defence. If you were to compare this to the intensity a college game between Duke and North Carolina, well, there is no comparison. Depending on your level of competition and the amount of effort required to compete at that level, you might play several times a week and not be considered in season.
  • UNC versus Duke

    UNC versus Duke: A little more intense than my pick up games

  • The duration of your games and practices. A typical Australian Rules football match can last for around 2 hours. During this match a high level midfield player can run, usually at sprint pace, a total distance of between 15-30km (10-20 miles to the good folks in the USA). They are also expected to tackle and absorb bumps from opposition players during that time. Not to pick on beach volleyball again, but this is a much higher workload per match than your average volleyball game.
  • The frequency of games and training. Most high school and college sports teams only plays once or twice a week depending on scheduling, but in season they are likely to be also practicing another 2-3 times per week. This is a much higher volume than the off season which in many cases doesn't involve any scheduled practices. Some sports like tennis play their in season events in tournament fashion which involves matches every second day for 1-2 weeks depending on the size of the tournament and how far they progress, and then a week or two off before the next tournament.

Australian Rules Football mark

Aussie Rules Football: No pads or helmets, lots of bone crunching tackles, hard sprinting, and yes, big jumps. Not a game for the faint hearted.

With those points in mind I would generally consider someone to be in season if they have 3 or more intense games and practices per week. Again, you do need to look at and consider some of the variables outlined above, but this is a good rule of thumb.

Conclusion

It doesn't take a genius to work out that when you are competing in season you should scale back your training a little. It will keep you fresher for your actual performances, and will reduce your chances of injury. However, scaling back doesn't mean abandoning everything completely. You still need to do a certain amount of maintenance training. Hopefully this article has given you some ideas about how to properly assess your needs. If not our software program Vertical Mastery can create you a custom vertical jump training program that has the option of choosing in season training. By doing so it will build you a jump training program with appropriately modified exercise choices, training volumes, and reduced training frequency.

Related Articles

Low Impact Training - Jumping is hard work on your body but it doesn't have to be. Follow a few of these simple low impact strategies and give your joints a break without sacrificing your gains.

Strength Training Part 1 - Getting strong is vital for jumping high. Part 1 of our 2 part look at strength training covers the various theories behind strength training.

Stretching and Jump Performance - Stretching is an important part of any athletic program. Here we take a quick look at what sort of stretching you should be doing for maximum hops.

Foam Rolling for Faster Gains - Like stretching, foam rolling should be an integral part of your vertical jump program.



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