Key Components of a Higher Vertical Jump

By Nate Woodward

The forty-inch vertical jump is an athletic move that draws attention and applause. You may have witnessed it in the form of a basketball dunk or volleyball spike. The vertical jump test is the ultimate standard of measurement of the force a body can produce in a given amount of time i.e. power. The high vertical jump demands an athlete to counteract the forces of gravity by propelling into the air using their entire body.

Olympic lifts and plyometrics offer the best bet for consistent long term development and athletic success but many athletes attempt to improve their vertical through gimmicks like strength shoes or other heavily marketed products on the Internet.

Explosive lifts such as a clean pull or push press, Olympic lifts like the power clean and snatch, old-fashioned weight lifting exercises like back squats, front squats and step-ups, and plyometric exercises such as depth and box jumps are some of the most well-known exercises. Greater motor unit recruitment or faster firing of the motor nerves is required for the muscle contractions it takes to increase the force in vertical jump movements. Increasing muscular coordination and neuromuscular efficiency is one way to realize an increase in the power of a vertical jump, as is an increase in force application.

Front and back squats are essential to increase the partnership of "pulling" and "pushing" muscles, because it helps in developing more power. Olympic style lifts utilize the hips, knees, and ankles in a squatting and explosive extension action for the benefit of muscle coordination. The increased power can be increase endurance to aid in actions like running and jumping for an athlete.

These results indicate of current studies by researchers did not find differences between the exercises [power cleans and squats] if indeed they did exist and many researchers have studied the role of different lifts on improving the vertical jump. The research appears to conclude that using all of the above methods in a periodized approach is the best training protocol and it would appear that all modes of exercise are successful in improving anaerobic power production, but no one lift was more successful than another. - 31494

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