What is it?
The Vertical Jump is a test where an individual stands in place and jumps as high as they can. The “Vertical” is how high (in inches) the individual reaches compared to when they are on the ground.
Why is it important?
The vertical jump is one of the most tested metrics in sport, and for good reason! It’s not only a great indicator of potential speed and explosiveness, but also a demonstration of overall coordination. It’s this coordination that is an often overlooked benefit of adding the vertical jump into a training program. I’ve worked with hundreds of individuals and I can firmly say that the average person does NOT know how to jump. It’s not that they can’t or aren’t strong enough, it’s that they don’t know HOW to. Imagine how many strength movements can be enhanced or how many injuries can be avoided if the pattern / skill of jumping was solidified? Adding vertical jumps can help with improve sport testing results, but it can also help mitigate injuries and strengthen other patterns through increased coordination.
Where to start?
Just like most movements, jumping is a skill, and one that can be developed with proper practice. If you’re new to training it, here are 3 tips to get started:
- Learn Proper Technique: You want to make sure you’re practicing either under the watchful eye of a trained coach or by strictly watching and successfully copying someone who excels at jumping.
- Build the Pattern: Before going right into jumping, you want to build the pattern to make sure the right muscles are being used and the movement is flowing like it should. This can come from “patterning” movements, such as skipping and hopping.
- Stay Consistent and Progressive: Once one exercise becomes engrained, add in additional progressions. Work on staying consistent and staying progressing.
A basic program could look something like this:
- Week 1: Watch great vertical jumps in action (like this one) and mimic their form. Have a trained individual watch your form and give you feedback. 3 days a week, practice A-Skips and Low Quick Hops.
- Week 2: Continue watching others, mimicking their form, and having your form be critiqued. 3 days a week, practice A-Skips, Low Quick Hops, B-Skips and Single-Leg Vertical Jumps.
- Week 3: Continue watching others, mimicking their form, and having your form be critiqued. 3 days a week, practice A-Skips, Low Quick Hops, B-Skips, Single-Leg Vertical Jumps, and Box Jumps.
- Week 4: Continue watching others, mimicking their form, and having your form be critiqued. 3 days a week, practice A-Skips, Low Quick Hops, B-Skips, Single-Leg Vertical Jumps, Box Jumps, and regular Vertical Jumps.
Want To Improve Your Vertical? CLICK HERE to download a 6-week program that has averaged a 2-4 inch improvement for our athletes!
Written by Dr. Brandon Buchla, DC, CSCS
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