The ability to jump high is one which can often mean the difference between an athlete becoming a highly rated professional sportsperson, and being good, but not good enough. If we follow that through all the way back amateur sports, your enjoyment, and success can be heightened (no pun intended) by being able to jump better and higher.
There are many things to take into account if you want to improve your jumping, and the first of these is to think about the physiology behind the act of jumping. In this article will discuss these plus look at some easy ways to improve them.
The Physiology of Jumping
If you want to improve something which is a physical action, like jumping, then it pays to understand what a jump actually is and more importantly how it is that you are able to jump. Once you have a clearer understanding of these, it is much easier to decide on a program of workouts and exercises to improve your jumping. If you want to take a shortcut then you should consider ‘The Jump Manual.’ This highly successful program includes workout videos, exercises, nutritional advice and much more, all designed to help you jump higher.
When you think about it, the act of jumping is based on the laws of physics, especially when applied to you jumping vertically. The amount of power that you can produce that is then used to propel your body upwards, will be a factor, as will that power’s ratio to your body weight. The more power you can produce the greater the ratio and thus the higher you will jump.
A simple physics formula is ‘Force x Velocity = Power;’ therefore, to increase the amount of power you produce you either have to increase the amount of force or the velocity, or both, if at all possible.
The Velocity of a Vertical Jump
Some of you might be thinking, ‘Hold on! A vertical jump is done from a standing start so there is no run with which to measure the velocity,’ and you’d be correct. However, the velocity that we are referring to is the speed of the jump itself. In other words, it is how fast your body is traveling in an upward direction during the jump. Now admittedly, with a vertical jump taking but a mere couple of seconds to be completed, measuring your speed might need some fancy equipment, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to jump faster, and there are several ways you can do so, which we will look at later.
The Force of a Vertical Jump
This is a measure of the strength that you have in your body which propels you upwards. If you have well-toned muscles that get a workout every day, then you are going to have a lot more strength for your jumps than someone who works out only occasionally.
In addition to being able to build up the strength in your muscles, you also need to undertake a number of exercises related to jumping so that strength is utilized correctly. Part of this will be the degree of flexibility you have so that your positioning and the motion of your jump makes full use of that strength.
So, now we know that by either increasing the velocity of your jump, or the force which propels that jump, it will mean more power, which is the key to being able to jump higher. In other words, you simply become able to jump faster or be capable of producing more upward force. The ways in which you do these is via workouts and exercises.
One of the best places to start these is ‘The Jump Manual,’ which is a comprehensive program of workouts and exercises with video tutorials, highly effective techniques and other great tips to improve your velocity and your strength, thus leading to higher jumps.
Exercises to Increase Your Jumping Velocity
The first exercise is standard Jump Squats. This is one of the simplest exercises you can do, but it is also one of the most effective at conditioning your muscles to provide the upwards velocity you need. To start, stand with your legs body width apart. Next squat down by bending both your knees and once you are close to the floor, propel yourself upwards as fast as you can, and as high as you can, too. Repeat this action at least 5 times, and within your session, do at least 2 or 3 sets of them.
You can also exercise using variations of jump squats to make the workout even more effective. One option is to hold a dumbbell in each hand to provide greater resistance as you jump. You can also use a box onto which you jump from your squatting position.
Exercises to Increase Your Force
One of the simplest ways to increase the amount of force your muscles can generate when you jump is to build and strengthen your muscles using weights. The most basic exercise is with a barbell with weights on either end which you hold across your shoulders and then squat down. Once you have gone down as far you can, you then stand back up, while making sure you keep your back straight. Repeat these 5 times, and also look at progressively increasing the weight you are lifting.
Another great exercise for building the strength in your legs are Bulgarian Split Squats. Not only do these increase your strength but they sharpen your balance too, which is vital when you are jumping vertically.
Stand in front of a bench and place one foot on it while holding a dumbbell in each hand. Lower yourself until the knee of the other leg is nearly touching the floor. Raise yourself up until you are standing straight again. You should repeat this at least 6 times for each leg and attempt to do a minimum of 2 sets during each session.