I listened to one of Martin Rooney's Seminars and I learned so much on the topic of vertical jumps, which I will share with you in this article. According to Martin Rooney a good vertical jump is a sign of speed, power, and health. One must be able to be at a optimum body weight to establish a good vertical jump and must be healthy. If you have any injuries, especially lower body, it is very difficult to establish a good vertical jump. If there is a muscle tear or strain in the lower body, this will significantly decrease your vertical jump number.
The most important thing about jumping is learning how to land correctly. If you land with your knees caving inward, this will eventually lead to an ACL injury. Women are usually more prone to ACL injuries due to landing incorrectly and some believe this is due to the wider hips women have.
In oder to achieve a good vertical jump, upper body is super important. This is something most don't understand. Swinging the arms is one of the most important mechanical contributors to the vertical jump. Anterior deltoids, erectors muscles, rotator cuffs, deltoids, lats are all involved in jumping and must be trained to achieve a good vertical jump.
There are various ways to measure the vertical jumps. Some of these tools are listed below:
- Vertex: This is a good tool but the issues is that when you use it to measure an athletes vertical jump, they tend to shorten their arms during the initial pre-measurement test to get better results. I think this is the best tool to use on yourself, assuming you are going to be honest with yourself and fully stretch during the pre-measurement test.
- Wall mounted systems. These are good but these are not convenient due to the biomechanics requirements. One will have to jump and reach sideways to touch the wall. This is not the greatest tool either.
- Measuring tape jump systems. These basically measure how much you jump. In theory this will show how much your hips cover the distance in space to provide your vertical jump measurement but these systems don't work that great in real life scenarios. The tape can resist you or you can break the tape.
- Vertical Jump Mats: This is a jump mat system that calculates the jump by the duration of time spent in the air. The problem with this is that it can be easily manipulated to cheat the system.
There are systems out there which use sensors as markers which can be put on each hip and a computer can calculate how much the hips moved to calculate the vertical jump. This is a simple technology that is available for use but, according to Martin Rooney, this will decrease all the vertical jump numbers of pro athletes and will make things less interesting in the athletic world.
Power= Force X Speed.
In order to generate power, one must work on their strength and speed. Lifting weights and working on sprints is a great way to establish a good vertical jump. Broad jump test is a great test that is not easy to cheat and can be a good measure for an athlete. Most athletes that have a good vertical jump also have a good broad jump. An athlete that has a good vertical and broad jump usually has a good 40 yard dash. The jump test and the 40 yard dash test are very similar. They both measure the body's ability to exert power in a short duration.
What Types of Shoes To Use:
A key point to remember is to not use running shoes while you practice on your jump. You need a rigid sole with a flat bottom. A thin shoe that does not dampen and dissipate energy will be best.
Tools For Jumping:
Band Resisted Jumps are a good tool to use to achieve improved vertical jumps but this should only be only used on elite athletes. This is not for younger athletes that physically did not fully mature yet.
Vertimax is a good system to use to develop a good vertical jump but this is also strong mature athletes.
Plyometrics are also a good tool for improving a vertical jump. The secret to plyometric exercises such as depth jumps is that one must minimize the time spent on the ground. Minimizing the "stretch shorten cycle" as much as possible and then taking off is key for plyometric workouts.
How To Train For Vertical Jumps:
First thing you should do in order to achieve an improved vertical jump is to: get stronger, faster, and to lose body fat. Exercises you should do are: front squats, back squats, goblet squats, kettlebell squats, and deadlifts. Snatches and cleans are also great for the elite athletes who know how to do them properly. Another great exercise is, explosive medicine ball throws. You can throw the medicine ball backwards, forwards or straight up. Arms are very important for a vertical jump so this makes medicine balls throws a great exercise to achieve a good vertical jump.
One thing to remember is making sure to practice vertical jumps as much as possible. Try to clean up your technique. John Hinds stated that he cleaned up his technique and removed all unnecessary movements whatsoever to improve his vertical jump. He also blew out his knee while he was improving his vertical jump so please be careful and make sure to progress slowly.
Another important muscle group that contributes to a good vertical jump is the abdominals. While you jump, you are quickly stretching your abdominals and hip flexors. Some BJJ practitioners use jumping to actually build up their core strength. I recommend training your core through the common standard exercises as a part of your vertical jump training program.
Check out video below for jump technique.