So you want to jump higher? I understand, I really do. If you want some simple and concise advice about here is a list of my top 10 ways to jump higher.
If you aren't going out at least once a week and trying to jump as high as you absolutely can then you are missing the forest for the trees. Forget all the different plyo and strength routines because the number 1 thing you can do to jump higher is practice jumping high.
A good vertical jump program should allocate some time each week to doing just this. The only one I know of that does this is our own Vertical Jump Coaching. AT $10 a month for fully customised training programs and unlimited assistance, it is still the by far the most effective and best way to increase your vertical jump available today.
By gradually Increasing the volume of plyometric exercises you are doing, especially those of the medium to higher intensity, you force your body to adapt by fine tuning your CNS and by changing your muscle-tendon structure to make you more springy.
Some good exercises for this are high volume bounding, hurdle jumps, 123 jumps, and tuck jumps.
You do need to be a bit careful though as increasing too quickly can lead to overuse injuries. Try and limit the increases to around 5% per month of total ground contacts per workout, and after every strength phase, dial the volume back and build up again.
Good core strength is so important for jumping high. Force is transferred into the ground and back up through your body. Your arms help create both downward force and upward momentum. If your core is weak you will be less efficiency in that vertical transfer of force and you will be costing yourself inches on your vertical jump.
Spend some time developing your midsection and lower back region via various weighted exercises and isometric holds (planks, weighted crunches, weighted isometric holds etc) and you will do wonders for your athleticism and vertical jump.
This should really go without saying but excess body fat is just dead weight. Getting lean is an obvious way to jump higher. So how do you do it? The two obvious methods are diet and exercise.
I will start with diet first. Obviously there are literally thousands of books that talk about diet so I am going to keep it simple. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables for vitamins and minerals, fish, poultry, and lean meats for protein, eat fruit around your training times for energy and more vitamins and minerals, and things like nuts and avocado for essential fats.
Avoid sugary foods, fried foods, and processed foods in general. It really isn't that complicated, but in today's world where there are fast food places on every corner and sugary treats nearly everywhere as well, it does take discipline.
In terms of exercise you don't want to detrain yourself from being explosive by doing lots of low intensity, long duration cardio, so the best bet is to try and do some form of interval sprints or hill sprints. You only need to do it once or twice a week to get some pretty decent fat loss effects. 8-15 sprints of between 15-30 seconds each is sufficient (obviously the less time you sprint for the more reps you should do).
This will most likely be easier if you single and don't have a lot of other commitments, but for what it's worth. Sleep=recovery. Oh yeah and while you are at it, try to watch your alcohol consumption and stress levels.
Even if you aren't going out on the town partying it is SO easy to stay up late surfing the web, or playing video games (I am very guilty of both), but if you are serious about finding ways to jump higher, go to bed earlier. It will help your performance on so many levels.
Ballistic lifts are those where you throw the weight (medicine ball throws for example), dynamic lifts are those weighted lifts that are performed as explosively as possible (kettlebell swings, Olympic lifts, weighted jump squats).
Using weight to overload the explosive movement of jumping is a great way to really develop some serious power. Overhead medicine ball throws not only provide a great training stimulus, but they are fun. Kettlebell swings are an amazing way to develop hip extension.
This type of training really helps bridge the gap between heavy strength training and pure plyometric and jumping type exercises.
It is always harder to train the muscles you can't see, but spending some time making your hamstrings, glutes, and calves strong and powerful. Of these three the most commonly neglected muscle group is the hamstrings.
By far the best exercise for developing hamstring strength is the Glute Ham Raise. Performing this exercise regularly will build a great set of hamstrings, increase your vertical jump, and also help you run faster. In short, what is not to love?
I am a big fan of using low rep sets. Lower reps means more weight can be lifted, and a decreased likelihood of the athlete pacing themselves too much. If you follow the logic to its natural conclusion you end up with single rep sets. I LOVE single rep sets for jumping athletes.
Why? It is very specific to jumping (which is often a singular effort). It teaches you to apply absolute all out maximum effort on each rep. You don't need to load up on super heavy loads either. 80-85% for anywhere between 10-20 reps is ideal.
I know many people are training to increase their vertical jump because they feel it will help with other sporting pursuits (often basketball and volleyball), however if you are truly serious about jumping high you need to start making it a priority.
This means not partying so much. It means going to bed earlier. It means cleaning up your diet. All of these we have covered. What hasn't been mentioned is that it might also mean reducing the amount of non productive sport you are playing. I am a big fan of people scheduling shorter and more goal orientated skill workouts over just going and playing ball for hours.
Having a measurable goal each workout allows tangible tracking of progress and avoids a lot of wasted energy and effort that could have been spent on increasing your athleticism.
One of the problems with the internet is how easy it is to get information overload (says the guy writing information for the internet). A little knowledge can be great, but too much can be paralyzing.
If you can't afford my jump coaching service (which at $10 a month is VERY AFFORDABLE) to help find out what areas you need to be working on, then experiment and find out for yourself. Once you have found what works for you, stick with it until it isn't.
Don't find something that works for you and then 2 weeks later completely change your program because you read somewhere that complex workouts produced great gains, or that heavy squats were the way to go.
Chopping and changing too regularly produces inferior performance gains.
If you are already doing the right sort of things in your jump program then you don't always need to make wholesale changes in order to get better results. A few tweaks here and there and a greater focus on recovery are often all that is required to get you on track. Try some of these 10 jumping tips out and I am sure your results will see the benefits.
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