vertical jump training

Stretching And Vertical Jump improvement

Written by Jack Woodrup for VerticalJumping.com

Stretching plays an important role in your vertical jump training as it can assist in injury prevention, help speed up recovery, and improveperformance. But not all stretches are created equal. There are different types of stretches that should be used at different times depending on the need. Also when it comes to stretching and flexibility, you do not need to go too crazy. In fact too much can be detrimental to your performance and the stability and integrity of your joints. That said, a little bit of work can go a long way to helping improve your athletic performance.

For more information read on.

Different Types of Stretching

When it comes to stretching work the most appropriate type you do will depend on what you are stretching for. However for the average athlete training by themselves the two main categories to focus on for your vertical jump workouts are dynamic stretches and static stretches.

Dynamic Flexibility Work

Dynamic stretches are those that are performed using a dynamic movement to gradually warm up your muscles and increase your range of motion. It is therefore no surprise that this type of stretching is used to improvedynamic flexibility which is what you use when you run and jump. If you do not have sufficient dynamic flexibility to movefreely in those movements then your performance will suffer and you will increase the chances of injury.

It therefore makes sense that you would perform dynamic stretches before a workout or before a competition (basketball game, track meet etc) when you are going to be moving in a dynamic and explosive manner. The common areas for injuries in sporting movements such as those used for running and jumping are hamstring and groin pulls so your dynamic stretching should focus on those areas.

With that in mind here is a look at some simple but effective dynamic stretches you can do before training to help get you ready for your high intensity vertical jump workouts.

Leg Swings

Dynamic leg swings focus on loosening up the hamstrings. As the video shows when you start to warm up a little extend your range of movement.

Lateral Leg Swings

This second version of the leg swing helps warm up the hips and groin.

Hip Circles

To perform hip circles you simply bring your knees up and create a circular movement with your hips. This is a good one to help develop hip mobility and is great for loosening up before your workouts.

Deep Squats

Simple bodyweight deep squats are another excellent dynamic flexibility drill. Not only do they help develop range of motion in your hips, knees and ankles, but they also assist in warming up the primary muscles used for jumping.

These are just a few examples of the sorts of things you can do as part of a dynamic stretching warmup. There are also many other movements you can do such as body weight lunges, step ups, high knee marching, ankle bounces etc that will also work well. They key is that they provide a challenging range of motion for both the joints and the muscle groups you are going to be using.

Static Flexibility and Stretching

Static stretching is generally what comes to mind when people think of stretching. Static stretching involves putting a muscle into a stretched position and gradually trying to increase that stretch. This form of stretching has gotten a bad rap in recent times but it doesn't mean there is not a place for it in your workout and recovery regime.

The main reason coaches and trainers have started avoiding using it comes from a study that showed static stretching before training can reduce an athletes ability to perform powerful movements. The reason for this is that the act of stretching and holding a muscle in such a state for extended periods causes the muscle to relax. When you subsequently go to perform explosive movements you cannot generate the same level of power. It is like sitting on a couch watching TV for an hour and then trying to get up and run full speed. You won't get anywhere near your best performance.

Knowing that static stretching helps lengthen and relax muscles it therefore follows that the best time to use it would be after your workout. Once you have performed some heavy weight training, full speed sprints, or a variety of intense jumping drills your muscles are going to get tight. Some post exercise static stretching can help reduce that tightness and speed up your recovery.

The other time I like to use static stretching is before bed. For those of you who have read the recovery plan outlined in the Vertical Mastery free report an integral part of it is some gentle stretching in the evening to help put you in a relaxed state. This not only helps reduce muscle tightness but also helps get you into a relaxed frame of mind and can improvethe quality of sleep (which is HUGE for recovery).

A static stretching routine should not be about creating advanced yoga class levels of flexibility.

crazy stretch

This isn't really required in a vertical jump centric stretching session

All you are trying to do is gently relax and lengthen the muscles. Too much flexibility decreases joint integrity. You only need enough range of motion to movefreely through your weighted exercises and jumps, not to achieve the lotus position. Below are a few simple stretches you can do to lengthen and relax tight muscles. Each stretch should be performed 2-3 times per leg and held for 30-60 seconds.

calf stretch

Standing calf stretch

glute stretch

Lying glute stretch.

groin stretch

Seated groin stretch

hamstring stretch

Seated hamstring stretch

hip flexor stretch

The warrior lunge stretch, or hip flexor stretch.
If you spend a lot of time sitting this is possibly the most important stretch you can do.

quadricep stretch

Standing quadricep stretch

The pictures and videos shown here are just a sample of the many different kinds of stretching and mobility drills you can do. There are also other types of stretching such as PNF and resisted stretching that can provide great benefits to athletes looking to improveange of movement. The ones shown here are by no means intended to be a comprehensive stretching library but should be enough to cover the main bases and get you started.

Conclusion

So there you go, stretching 101 and vertical jump improvement. Things to remember are to perform dynamic stretches before your workout to loosen muscles and joints for the explosive efforts ahead. You only need to go for about 5-10 minutes using 60 seconds per movement. For 5-10 minutes after your workout and for another 10-15 minutes before bed do some gentle static stretching to help relax and lengthen the muscles. For most people this is more than enough flexibility work to see excellent benefits in their mobility and movement.



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