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Jump Training For Athletes

Just because you aren't a basketball player does not mean that you don't need to do any vertical jump training.

Every sport requires explosive movement and jumping ability; therefore every athlete should be looking to maximize his power and jumping ability.

How long have you been training your calves without seeing your vertical nudging up? Explosive training and the ability to generate power are the way to go if you want to develop some sick hops.

Power is a combination of strength and speed.

You need to be able to exert enough force into the ground to counteract the weight of your body, and you need to apply it quickly enough to force your body to leave the ground.

Jump training for athletes needs to focus on 4 key areas.

This 4 step approach will ensure that the athlete is able to maximize their potential.

Resistance Training

Since one half of the power equation is strength, it naturally makes sense that resistance training can help improve vertical jumping ability.

Weak athletes are not able to push into the ground as hard with their legs, which means they won't go as high. This is why resistance training is so effective with many younger and novice athletes.

Because they are relatively untrained, they can make consistent strength progress, which will also carry over into increased power. More advanced athletes who are already relatively strong will not see much jumping benefit from continuing to get stronger.

Increasing muscle mass and weight can eventually weigh an athlete down unless they are also training the other half of the speed equation…

Plyometric Training

Plyometric training is like a bridge between strength and speed.

Plyometric training involves various hops, bounds, skips and jumps, all of which train your body to apply strength at high speed. Even though plyometric training is one of the most widely used training methods for increasing vertical jump, it is also one of the most INCORRECTLY used!

Many athletes and trainers prescribe plyometrics as a cardio workout, and use it as a conditioning tool. Not only will this not improve your vertical jump at all, it will actually make it DECREASE!

As your body starts to fatigue you will become less and less explosive, and your jumping technique will also suffer. We are trying to force our muscles to contract as fast as possible, why on earth would we train them in a fatigued state.

Plyometric training should always be done first in your workout, and you should ensure adequate rest between sets. Quality definitely trumps quantity here.


Wait a second… what happened to quality reps and not training when tired?

I thought we wanted to be explosive? Cardio and diet both play an important role in an effective vertical jump program for a simple reason.

The leaner you are, the less weight you have trying to pull you back down to earth.

Not all athletes need to do cardio, and it has to do with body fat as opposed to weight. Adding muscle will cause you to add weight, but because this is functional weight it doesn't matter.

If 5 pounds of muscle is added to your quads, those 5 pounds are also going to improve your power, counteracting the weight.

Fat on the other hand, is dead weight. It has no purpose.

If you are serious about improving your vertical jump and over 20% body fat, bringing it down to 12% will do more for your jump than any of the other 3 areas(that doesn't mean don't train them, but they aren't your priority.)


Poor jumping technique causes energy leaks, which can mean losing up to 20% of your potential jumping power.

Good technique allows for the proper muscles to engage and fire simultaneously, creating a powerful surge that lifts you off the ground.

The best way to improve technique is to attend a coaching session or training camp.

Give a knowledgeable coach 30 minutes, and he will do more for your jump than you could do in 30 workouts.

How often do you see people tumbling into the ground on highlight reels?

Whether basketball, football, baseball or soccer, the highlights are always players flying into the air making plays where other players can't.

Jump training for athletes like these focuses on these same 4 key areas. Train like the pros, one day you may be one of them!


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