vertical jump training

Vertical Jump Supplements

Written by Jack Woodrup for VerticalJumping.com

In the world of athletic performance, supplements are big business. There are some clever marketers out there who have produced a line of supplements supposedly formulated to help you jump higher. In this article we answer the big questions. What are they? Do they work? And is there really a special type that can improve your vertical jump? Read on to find out.

What Are Supplements?

Generally speaking, supplements are something an athlete takes to improvetheir performance or make up for dietary inadequacies. They can therefore be broadly categorized as either dietary or performance based. Most commonly they are in the form of either a pill or a powder, but there are also other varieties such as drinks and bars.

An example of a dietary supplements is something such as protein and carbohydrate meal replacement powders(MRP's) that is used to make up for areas where your actual food intake lacks certain qualities. For example a vegetarian who has no meat in their diet might have some protein powder based drinks to increase their intake. Dietary types are really food replacements.

Performance based supplements on the other hand generally provide a direct training or playing benefit. These include products such as creatine which help you produce more ATP (the energy system for short term high intensity work), Nitric Oxide, etc. Something like creatine helps by enabling your body to perform an extra few reps at the end of a heavy intense set.

Some might argue that there are also hybrid types such as L-Glutamine which aside from helping boost your immune system, also helps with protein synthesis (i.e. improves your bodies ability to absorb protein and therefore recover more quickly). However, as these aren't really foods we will include them in the performance variety.

Do They Work?

Absolutely! Well, some do anyway. If you did an internet search for "athletic supplements" you will find so much information it is mind boggling. Not only is there masses of information, there is also masses of products. There are proteins, creatines, amino acids, nitric oxides, glutamines, fat burners, and many many more.

Some of these products are actually very beneficial and some offer only minimal benefit. For example, if you already have a good diet that meets your nutrient needs, you will get zero benefit from even the most expensive scientifically researched protein powder in the world. Why? Well your body can only absorb so much of anything. Any excess is flushed away down the toilet.

Then there are the performance supplements. Some are proven winners and we will discuss those in a minute. However many others offer only small benefits. If you are an elite athlete who is doing everything else right and are looking for any edge you can, then these types of products might be of benefit to you. However for most people there is more likely to be a dozen other things they can do that will more drastically improvetheir performance ahead of buying the latest in chemical enhancement.

Who Should Take Supplements

Before we go into detail about which ones are any good we should point out that not everybody needs to take supplements. For example, if you are still in high school the chances are that you are still growing. If you are still growing, provided you aren't just getting fatter, you should get stronger and faster naturally.

There is no point taking something to aid in muscle gro with when all you have to do is go out, play your sport, lift a few weights, and eat a healthy diet to grow. For the most part high school kids, particularly junior high school shouldn't worry about them.

Another group of people who shouldn't take supplements are those that only play or train on a limited basis. If you play basketball once a week with your friends, there is no point taking creatine to improve your performance. It won't do anything. You really need to be training regularly (more than 2 times a week) to see any noticeable benefits of most products.

This raises an extremely important point. Supplements are just that. Supplemental. 99% of your athletic improvements will come from correct training principles, a balanced and sufficient diet, and adequate recovery time. You could be taking the most amazing steroids known to man but if all you do is sit on the couch you are not suddenly going to be jumping 40 inches high.

Other people who needn't take them are athletes who are new to vertical jump training (or new to any training for that matter). When you first start vertical jump training your body will adapt much quicker to the new stimulus compared to when you have been training for a while. In other words, when you are starting out, you will already see rapid gains so adding in supplements won't have too much more effect.

So who then should take them? In terms of dietary supplements, anyone whose diet is lacking can obtain a benefit. It is very much the belief of the VerticalJumping.com team that nothing is as good as natural unprocessed food when it comes to providing your body with the nutrients it needs. However, we also realize that preparing and cooking healthy meals all the time takes time and equipment that not everybody has. In these circumstances a MRP may be just the ticket to help you avoid eating a sugar and fat laden meal that most certainly won't help your vertical.

As far as performance supplements go we believe only athletes whose bodies have already made substantial adaptations to vertical jump training should consider using them. These are people who have been training solidly for a minimum of 6-12 months and whose gains have started to stagnate.

Sorting Out The Good From The Bad

Having been involved in fitness and athletic training for many years we have tried and tested many different supplements. Here is a list of the ones we consider to be effective and worth considering.

  • Whey Protein Powder - The main sources of protein from foods are your various meats(fish, poultry and beef etc), eggs and dairy. Unfortunately these things are becoming more expensive all the time. A protein powder is a great way to cheaply supplement this important area of your diet.
  • Creatine - There are various types of creatine (monohydrate, phosphate, effervescent etc). Most forms of creatine will work provided they are from a reputable brand. In our experience it really comes down to how you prefer to take it. Whatever type you go for, this is a great performance supplement which will allow you to appreciably extend your high intensity work capacity.
  • L-Glutamine - L-Glutamine is one of our favorites. It generally comes in a powder form and helps you better absorb protein into your body (handy after a workout), as well as boost your immune system.
  • EFA and Fish Oils - Essential Fatty Acids and Fish oils (omega fatty acids) are getting a lot more exposure lately. This simple product provides many health related benefits including reduction of joint inflammation(great for a jumping athlete), improved cardiovascular health, improved concentration and mental efficiency, improved skin and nails, and a boosted immune function.
  • A Multivitamin - A simple multivitamin is a nice fall back in case your diet is missing something. If you have a great diet made up of a variety of foods already then you probably don't need one. However, how many of us have such a diet.

That is it. There are many other supplements available, particularly of the performance enhancing type. However, the cost of these often far outweighs the gains you will see in your vertical jump.

What About Those Jumping Formulas?

The products that are advertised as being designed to specifically improvevertical jump performance are nearly always a mixture of creatine, a nitric oxide enhancer, or a stimulant. These things will all help your training and ultimately your vertical jump, but the truth is there is no such substance invented that will specifically boost your jumping ability.

If you want creatine, buy creatine. If you want a nitric oxide supplement, but nitric oxide. If you want a stimulant have a cup of coffee (caffeine is a great pre-workout stimulant and has been shown in many tests to increase performance). Do not be fooled by a list of ingredients that is full of exotic sounding herbs. This is pure marketing, nothing else.

For a prime example of such a product check out our review on Adenotrex.

Where Is The Best Place To Buy?

There are literally hundreds of places on the internet, not to mention the many health stores, that sell supplements. However there is one place that stands out abovethem all for its great prices, great service and huge range and that is bodybuilding.com.

Not only is bodybuilding.com the best place to buy supplements it is also one of the best sources of training information on the net.

Conclusion

It is our firmly held belief that any athlete can make substantial gains in their vertical jump without the need for an extensive shopping list of supplements. However, if something is missing from your diet by all means top it up with a meal replacement. If you need a pick me up, have a cup of coffee.

Taking supplements is something that nearly every athlete at some point in their career will do. In terms of vertical jump performance, if you are at the right progression in your training, it is quite possible you will make quicker improvements by adding a little something extra to your regime.

Having said all that please do not think that there is a magic pill solution out there that will instantly add inches to your vertical jump on its own. Nothing will substitute the big three variables of performance enhancement (training, diet, and recovery). It is only when you have those three things in place should you start to think about what else you can do.




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