Forget genetics, race, size, gender and other factors you were told you didn’t have since you were young and which were the prime excuse for you not being able to jump high enough to touch the basketball rim, let alone to dunk! There is a specific scientific reason which will dictate whether you can improve your vertical jump or not and it all boils down to your training techniques.
All professional athletes requiring extreme jumping skills have undergone the same basic training needed to see vast improvements in their vertical leaping ability. The good news is that any athlete of any standard, height or weight can aspire to excel in this department. You just need to know what to do and how to apply it to your training schedule.
Power to Bodyweight Ratio
Basic physics lessons teach us that an increase in overall power to bodyweight ratio will drastically improve your vertical jump. This could be further explained in the theory that power is equal to force multiplied by velocity. In simple terms this means that force is the maximum amount of strength that you possess and velocity is how much speed you have. This, however, has to be taken in proportion to your bodyweight, as you cannot be expected to lift twice your bodyweight if you weigh 300 pounds!
Strength exercises for increasing power in your lower body include some well-known bodybuilding moves such as various types of squats and lunges. It is always a good idea to start of with low weights or no weights at all until you get used to the moves and gradually increase accordingly. You should expect to see some improvements within 4-6 weeks and this will be your cue to adding more weight.
Velocity, on the other hand is something which is measured by the speed of the exercise you are performing. Slow movements will increase your strength but will not do much for improvements in speed which is an essential part of the vertical jump. Explosive movements, however, will boost your fast-twitch fibres and your jumping abilities will increase.
You can work on your velocity by adding a few jumping techniques to your training. Again the concept is to use explosive movements rather than slow but a combination of various types of jumps should be incorporated for good measure. These could include box jumps, skipping or simple straight-legged or deep squat jumps.
Importance of Stretching
Stretching is always subject to interpretation. The majority of team coaches would argue that stretching is an integral part of any workout and the event itself. However, countless studies have concluded that stretching doesn’t prevent injuries. So the question is, why is stretching so important in relation to vertical jumping?
To start off with there are 2 types of stretching, static and dynamic. Since flexibility is an essential component of vertical jumps both types should be included in your training routine. An example of a dynamic stretch is moving a part of your body, such as your arms or legs up and down or sideways. Static stretching involves keeping your body in the same position but extending or bending a part for a minimum of 30 seconds so that position is held.
Although you may not be a firm believer in stretching you will find that it has its rightful place in hoping to improve your jumping and will help to overcome stiff joints which might impede progress. The taller you are the more your limbs will require some lubrication and the best way to do this is by resorting to stretching.