How to Improve Vertical Jump with SMARTFIT360: Different Components

Coaching young athletes within all sports from Basketball, Football, Volleyball etc. The Number one comment or question I always seem to get is, how do I improve my Vertical Jump?.  Can correcting someone’s technique improve their jump? Of course. Can we improve someone’s jumping ability with strength exercises? Of course. There are different variables that are part of the whole athletes development in improving their jumping ability. The focus of this Article is to discuss the strength exercises that get you the more results and are more transferable to vertical jump.

First we have to know different components and types of strength/power exercises and then we can discuss a way to program them in.

Resistance training/ Strength training definition: By definition, the term resistance training refers to a specialized method of conditioning, which involves the progressive use of a wide range of resistive loads and a variety of training modalities designed to enhance health, fitness, and sports performance. Although the term resistance training, strength training, and weight training are sometimes used synonymously,  the term  resistance training encompasses a broader range of training modalities and a wider variety of training goals. (YOUTH RESISTANCE TRAINING: UPDATED POSITION STATEMENT PAPER FROM THE NATIONAL STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING ASSOCIATION. AVERY D. FAIGENBAUM, WILLIAM J. KRAEMER,CAMERON J. R. BLIMKIE, IAN JEFFREYS, LYLE J. MICHELI, MIKE NITKA, AND THOMAS W. ROWLAND7)

Understanding the different components to improve the athletes vertical jump.

  1.  Rate of Force Development. The more rapidly you can recruit muscle fibers to perform a task the more force you can produce. Improving the athletes overall power will aid in their vertical jump.
  2. Lower Body Strength. An athlete that can perform exercises with heavier loads and proper technique would be able to generate more force on the ground.
  3. Muscle Contraction speed:
  4. Deceleration forces: Teaching the athletes to decelerate as well as work on eccentric strength is another component in improving their vertical jump.

Types of exercises that elicit power and improve the rate of force development. There are a vast number of exercises that improve an athlete’s power, the list below is the ones I find best when working with young athletes. Things i look for in the exercise selection are:

  1. Simplicity: Allows me to teach them power and the athlete will have higher skill acquisition and the young athletes will understand it better. Movements not as technical.
  2. Time: How much time do I have with the athlete and select an exercise that will elicit the responses I want within that session.
  3.  Training Age: How often has the athlete seen or performed the specific exercise.

Below are my favorite exercises to use with younger athletes to improve their power.

  1. Med Ball Throws: Works on the athletes ability to move a load as fast as possible utilizing triple extension mimicking a jump.
  2. Front Squats/Goblet Squats: Lower body strength exercise that allows the athlete to utilize musculature similar to a vertical jump also improves lower body strength by using an external load. It also works on developing a better base of support and stability.
  3. Hex Bar Deadlift:  allows the athlete to use an external load to develop lower body strength to lift off the ground. This exercise is one of the easier lifts for the athletes to perform and elicit the highest rate of force development.
  4. KettleBell Swing: This exercise works on muscle contraction speed, strengthening the posterior chain that transfers to vertical jump. Developing stronger hamstrings and glutes the athlete will improve speed and jump.
  5.  Depth drops: this exercise allows the athlete to work on eccentric strength that transfers when the athlete jumps and work on deceleration forces.

Again, this is just a synapse of exercises that can help an athlete improve their vertical jump using some of the components listed above. Also, these exercises have the highest skill retention for younger athletes due to its simplicity and transfer.

What is Your Next Move?