Athletes and coaches are always looking for ways to increase athletic power, rate of force development and reactivity. One of the most well known ways to do this is of course using plyometrics such as bounding, skipping, and the more traditional 'plyometric' exercises such as depth jumps and altitude landings.
What makes 'plyometric' exercises different to other types of jumping drills is that they tend to have a focus on improving eccentric strength (reactivity). They do this by using methods that overload the downward part of the jump (mostly by jumping off boxes, but there are other more effective methods).
The reason for these exercises is that the great Russian coach Verkhoshansky observed that the athletes who jumped the highest also spent the least amount of time on the ground and thus plyometrics were essentially born.
So what has any of this got to do with the amortization phase?
In simplest terms the amortization phase is the very brief moment in a jump when you go from descending down into the jump and start ascending upwards. This transition from down to up is HUGELY important for jumping high.
Firstly, the quicker you can transition from down to up the higher you will jump It is that simple. A quicker transition results in a more efficient use of the stretch shorten cycle's processes and higher jumps and it also means less force is lost as dissipated heat. A quick jump is a high jump.
If you want to develop a great vertical jump then you need to get really good at reducing the amortization phase. Aside from using the right sort of drills such as depth jumps you also need to be training yourself to use good landing technique to most effectively absorb those eccentric forces and turn them into concentric jumping power.
The key things to remember are:
Learning to land in this position on your jumps is both efficient and effective, and adds a level of safety to your training.
With regards to the actual jumping motion there are two things to focus on:
If you can practice your jumps utilizing these 4 principles you will over time start to jump higher by sheer virtue of decreasing the amortization phase and speeding up your jumps. You will get be able to transfer force into the ground quicker and more efficiently.
Traditional plyometrics have been used effectively for decades now. Coaches have gotten much smarter about their use in terms of volumes, frequency, and intensity and many athletes have improved their jumping ability accordingly.
However, it has been literally DECADES since plyometrics first were introduced. You would think we might have come up with some better ways to develop reactive strength and reduce the amortization phase by now. Well, as a matter of fact we have.
By FAR the biggest drawback of traditional plyometrics is the impact it has on your joints. The high impact nature of the methods means that many athletes simply cannot perform them effectively for very long and thus won't see many benefits.
Add to that the only way to add progression is by using higher and higher boxes to jump off and that just ends up compounding the impact issue. So what is the alternative?
In the book Game Changers I discuss a training method that can RAPIDLY add inches to your vertical jump that safely overloads the eccentric portion of the jump with NO IMPACT on your joints. Better still it is also much easier to add progression into the exercise.
In short you will discover a very innovative training method that:
The training method, like ALL of the methods in the book is one of the ABSOLUTE BEST WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR VERTICAL JUMP. If it wasn't it wouldn't be in the book. To find out more click on the image below.
Research has shown that having a fast amortization phase is one of the most important components to having a big vertical jump. Yet most people think strictly in terms of eccentric strength or concentric strength, and forget about the need to transition smoothly between the two.
This article is designed to give you a brief introduction onto effective amortization phase training. The reality is that it can be a pretty sciency type discussion, but from a practical point of view you need to focus on exercises that have low ground contact times, minimal knee bend, and also learning to land each jump in a good position so that you can quickly take off again