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3 Steps to Increasing Your Vertical Jump

By Edited Apr 26, 2016 0 0

In the world of athletic performance, the vertical jump has been touted as one of the best, if not thee best indicator of athletic potential. Not everyone with an impressive vertical will be a great athlete, but that's true more often than not.  The vertical jump is a great measure of overall athleticism, and that's why it's one of the most influential measures of whether an NFL athlete will be drafted or not.

Not only does the vertical jump measure jumping ability, it also measures raw power of the lower body, which has implications far beyond winning a jump ball or landing a nasty dunk. Improving one's vertical jump almost always improves acceleration and quickness as well; two vital components of most team sports.

Many people mistakenly believe improving the vertical jump is complicated: this couldn’t be further from the truth.

 

Vertical Jumping Basics

Jumping higher basically comes down to one thing: the amount of force that can be applied to the ground. However, the vertical jump is a very fast movement, so how quickly that force is applied also will affect the height of the jump. More force or more speed of movement will lead to a higher vertical jump.

There is one other thing that will affect jump height, and that is the mass component. The force produced in a vertical jump has to be enough to overcome the weight of the implement being moved. In this case, that is the body of the person jumping.

However, while body weight is a big factor in jumping, body composition is actually much more important.

 

Why is Body Composition Important?

Let’s consider two athletes of the same body weight but different body compositions.

In the tables below, I’m using force and speed on a scale from 1 to 10 for the sake of simplicity. Since ‘force x speed’ is the same for both of these athletes and they both weigh the same, they have the same vertical.

Take a look at table 1 below.

 

TABLE 1

Athlete

Bodyweight

Bodyfat %

Force

Speed

Vertical

Jim

150

10%

4

6

20”

Bob

150

20%

4

6

20”

 

If you're familiar with physiology and athletics, table 1 might look a bit strange. The situation in table 1 is possible, but not very likely. It’s much more likely that the athlete with more muscle mass will be able to produce more force and, because of that, more speed as well.

Table 2 below is more realistic:

 

TABLE 2

Athlete

Bodyweight

Bodyfat %

Force

Speed

Vertical

Jim

150

10%

6

7

25”

Bob

150

20%

4

6

20”

 

After all, Jim has 15lbs more lean body mass than Bob. It’s very unlikely that he can produce the same amount of force as Bob even though he has more muscle mass. It’s possible, yes, but usually not the case.

 

The 3 Steps to Increasing Your Vertical Jump

Therefore, 3 factors to an explosive vertical jump are:

 

1. High levels of force production (i.e. strength)

2. High levels of movement efficiency (i.e. speed)

3. Suitable body composition (i.e. lean)

 

Increasing your vertical jump comes down to those three things. Increasing strength and speed while improving body composition (adding muscle, dropping fat, or both) will bring about the most noticeable improvements in jump height.

Considering the factors above, the steps to increasing your vertical jump are very simple:

 

1. Build stronger legs with resistance training

2. Build speed and movement efficiency by practicing jumping and sprinting.

3. Reach and maintain a lean physique by eating the right type and right amount of food.

 

Follow those 3 steps and you'll be jumping higher in a matter of weeks!

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