In a previous article I identified what I thought were the most common vertical jump training mistakes. However since I launched my online jump coaching service last November I have started seeing a few more that really need to be added to that list. So today I am going to look at what these new vertical jump training mistakes are and what you can do to avoid making them.
This one is a very common mistake. All too often I recieve an email from an athlete who is playing pick-up basketball for 2 hours every day, they have practice 2-3 times a week, games on weekends, they also like to go for long rides on their bike, and on top of all that they want to get bigger, they want to get stronger, they want to get faster, and somewhere in there, they want to jump higher.
Now being bigger, faster, and stronger are all good goals, and I can't blame anyone for enjoying a nice bike ride, but if you want to jump higher you need to stop expending so much energy on all sorts of non-jump related activities.
If you are competing in a sport than obviously the games and the related training sessions are pretty inflexible in terms of how much time you can put in, but all the other stuff, that can be seriously reduced.
If you want to increase your jump this year focus on (in order) - maximum effort/sports specific jumping session, structured workouts that target your individual weaknesses, recovery from those workouts (sleep, stretching and foam rolling, diet).
Then only after all of that is sorted out, see if you can add in any other activities.
SIDE NOTE: By far the the worst offenders when it comes to doing things counter productive to increasing their vertical jump are basketball players. Ironically this is also the biggest group of athletes that approach me wanting help to jump higher. I too am a basketball player, I love to play as much as anyone, but hours of pick-up ball each day is not the most productive way to get better.
A smarter approach is to design yourself some skill specific workouts that focus on your areas of skill weakness and go to work. Not only will this will make you a better basketball player faster, but will save you time and effort.
Being more specific with your basketball workouts will also help your vertical jump as you will need less recovery than if you played a lot of pick up ball. Playing basketball is fine, but doing so every day for hours on end is a vertical jump killer.
Another all too common mistake I see is athletes who want to jump higher telling me they also want to gain 10-20 pounds in weight. This is not as rare as you think particularly with younger athletes who haven't stopped growing yet. This is understandable too though. The bigger stronger kids often do have an advantage over the skinnier kids. However there are a few things to remember about gaining weight, even in the form of added muscle.
Firstly, it isn't easy to do, especially if you are a young athlete with a high metabolism and a high level of activity in your life. You will have to eat a lot of food and lift a lot of weights, often over a long period of time. This is definitely going to impact how much time and energy you have to devote to your vertical jump training.
Secondly, even if you do add the extra weight to your frame, it just makes it that much harder for you to jump higher. Any weight increase, even in the form of extra muscle (especially upper body muscle) will slow you down when you sprint, and weigh you down when you jump.
This last point brings me to the flip side of the relative power mistake and that is athletes who could lose a few pounds wanting to get their squat up to improve their relative strength numbers while paying no attention to their diet or conditioning. The fact is, losing weight is often one of the EASIEST ways to increase your vertical jump.
Fat loss is actually pretty simple - clean up your diet, do 20-30 minutes of some form of interval sprinting (bike, running, hills, rowing machine) 3 times per week. This very simple formula will work pretty well for a ridiculously high percentage of the population.
Less weight means it is easier to project yourself vertically into the air. Every extra ounce of body weight requires more muscular power to get the same amount of jump height. Also the less you weigh the less wear and tear your body will experience from the impact of those landings. So unless it is more advantageous for your sport to carry extra size don't be in such a rush to pack on more upper body muscle. If you are carrying a few extra pounds then take steps to dial in your diet and maybe find some time for some interval sprints to help burn some of it off.
Putting together sensible and appropriate vertical jump training program isn't rocket science, but there is definitely a lot more to it than just slapping together a few different jumping exercises and hoping for the best. Based on MOST of the self written programs people have asked me to look at there are a lot of athletes who clearly have no idea how to do it.
If you don't know how to assess your weaknesses, if you don't know how to manage training volume and intensity, if you don't know how to prescribe yourself appropriate loads in the gym and how to progress accordingly, than do yourself a huge favor, either spend the money and buy a good vertical jump program, or better still, hire a coach.
I don't mean to be to get all full of myself here, but the feedback I have had so far from the people already enrolled in my online vertical jump coaching program has been fantastic. And you know what? So it should be! Being able to work more closely with each athlete helps identify any issues up front and allows me to modify their programs accordingly. As all the vertical jump training programs are completely customized to the individuals needs, this has resulted in some pretty exciting gains being made.
My vertical jump coaching is just $10 a month. At this price there is no excuse not to try it out. It is cheaper than pretty much every other jump training program, and it is a better level of service with more customized programming than you will find anywhere else. For more information click the link below:
So there you go. The 3 common mistakes for jumping athletes are not prioritizing their jump training enough, failing to make either a lower body mass or body fat % a goal of their training and diet, and lastly, wasting time and effort by trying to design their own training programs without the required knowledge.
You can avoid these pitfalls by making your jump training, and in particular, your ability to recover adequately, a higher priority, watching your diet and ensuring your workouts are geared mostly towards developing relative muscular power, and by getting a qualified trainer to assess your individual needs and designing a vertical jump training program for you.
Top 5 Vertical Jump Training Mistakes - The top 5 vertical jump training mistakes people make and how you can avoid them.
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Vertical Jump Coaching - Want to jump higher? The smartest way to do it is to hire your own vertical jump coach. Find out how.