Today I want to go over 6 jumping principles with you. If you follow these principles correctly you will be able to gain another 2-6 inches on your vertical jump immediately by having the correct form and by allowing your body to do what it’s capable of doing.
I wanted to list principles that will allow you to go outside (or into a gym) right now and put these into effect, thus getting a higher jump instantaneously.
I know you’re thinking that’s BS… this guy is crazy… but in reality, these are just scientific principles.
Feel free to watch this video.
Get Warm & Stretch
When looking at the first image in the video you’ll see we have the quadriceps muscle (highlighted in red) and the hamstrings muscles (highlighted in green). Take a good look at these muscles, because these two muscles are mostly responsible on powering your vertical jump and as your about to see, they have a very interesting relationship.
The first thing that you want to do is prime your muscles so that you can jump higher. Now before you just sign off and say I’m just talking about stretching and flexibility, there’s more to the story…
Firstly, you have to understand that in as much as your hamstrings are going to be warmed up, your quadriceps will be able to contract at full potential without the resistance of a stiff hamstring. Therefore, the more you’re able to get your hamstrings flexible by accessing the elastic quality of the muscle, the more ‘springy’ you’ll become and you’ll get a fuller contraction out of your muscle.
When warming up you need to completely stretch the inverse of every muscle involved in the jump, this includes the quads, hamstrings, calf muscles, anterior tibialis (front shin muscle) and even your upper body so that all of the muscles are fully contracted at their fullest capacity.
Basically what that does is when your muscles are warm they’ll have more elasticity, you’ll be able to stretch them more, and you’ll have increased blood flow and energy supply to your muscles.
For this reason, before you start anything, before even thinking on trying to top that record from your last workout, make sure you’ve done what I said above correctly.
Eliminate Mental Blocks
The next thing you want to do is eliminate any mental blocks that you might have so there is a connection between your mind and what your body does. You’ll want to eliminate any doubt by picturing your goal as clearly as possible so that you don’t inhibit in any way your jumping mechanics.
Exaggerate Last Step
Watch the clip of Spud Webb (in the video above) and watch how he gets into his jump. Notice how Spud’s last step (before he explodes) is exaggerated about 2-3 times longer than his normal step.
Why does he do that? Because that additional length lowers his entire body, and when his entire body is lowered all his muscles are ready to contract and send him upward into the jump.
If you’re training for any event in Track & Field, whether it’s long jump/high jump, you will know that it’s required to exaggerate your final step in order to lower your body weight and get you ready for the jump.
Use Whole Body
If you’re standing straight up in the air, the least you can do is flex your quads or calves a bit, but you won’t be able to get near the explosion as when you’re already poised and in place.
Notice where Spud’s arms at right before he’s jumping and where he keeps the ball… It’s in between his legs! If his arms were already up near his chest he would not be able to jump high because of his upper body. We can see from this that his whole body, including his legs, arms and upper body, is ready to explode upward.
You’ll want to exaggerate this last step as much as you can, even pointing your toes toward your knees so that your legs are ready to fully explode and that your joints and muscles will take advantage of all the elasticity that they have.
Eventually you see Spud initiate the jump by exploding upwards, his hands have gone up, his legs are extended and he’s sending everything he has into the jump.
So let’s recap what we had until now.
If you want to improve your jumping quality and increase your vertical jump immediately, make sure you’re warmed up and that your muscles are elastic when you get in the gym. Also make sure you stretch all the inverse muscles of the ones you’re going to work on and vice versa.
Once that’s done eliminate any mental blocks, exaggerate your last step and poise your body for explosion. Don’t forget to get your arms, lower back and everything into the jump.
Point your toes towards your knees and take advantage of a full range of motion.
Transfer Momentum Successfully
The last thing you want to make sure you do is transferring any forward momentum directly upwards. What you noticed in the second jump slide is that the upward momentum was stopped completely and then you’re using only strength to push you up.
If you have a lot of forward momentum developed you want to transfer that momentum upwards, rather than stopping and having to recharge your momentum.
To reiterate, here are the steps in a quick breakdown:
- Get warm – increase the elasticity of muscles and joints. Increase blood flow to muscles.
- Stretch – further increase elasticity of muscles and supporting structures. Warm and elastic opposing muscle groups allow full contraction.
- Eliminate mental blocks – don’t allow your mind to interfere with performance.
- Exaggerate last step – lower your body and prepare for lift off.
- Use whole body – Prepare your arms and lower back to be involved in upward explosion. Point toes toward knees to get full range of motion.
- Successfully transfer momentum – Allow forward momentum to be successfully transferred upward, instead of “killing” it at the point of takeoff.
The above principles were all taken from a few programs I had an experience with (namely The Jump Manual program and Vert Shock) and these are just simple things that you can take and apply into your vertical training today.
These tips are just the tip of the iceberg and if you want to learn more about these programs I published a full overview of the jump manual (see homepage) that shows what are the benefits of training with this program, and I also did a case study of Vert Shock here to show how it helped me push my jump even higher.
This is it for today. I hope this post helped you understand the 6 steps to help you immediately gain more inches on your vertical leap by having the right form and the proper preparation.
1) How To Improve Your Jumping Technique | Verticaljumping.com – standing + running vertical jump tips and the penultimate step – http://www.verticaljumping.com/jumping_technique.html