Why should you care if you can jump?

The vertical jump has been and will continue to be one of the most important athletic evaluations out there.  To give you an idea how effective a tool the simple vertical jump test is for assessing whole body explosiveness, the NFL routinely uses a whole host of tests when evaluating athletes at their NFL combines. They use a bench press test, a 40-yard dash test, various tests of agility, and a vertical jump test. At first glance it might appear that the ability to jump would be the LEAST specific of those tests to a football player. However, the vertical leap is in fact the most effective of those tests in predicting the success of a football player – even better than the 40-yard dash!

Coaches can look at the vertical jump of a player and immediately tell how explosive of an athlete they have on their hands. This explosiveness is key for a football player and has a high carryover to pretty much any sport requiring speed, agility, quickness, and power.

So if the vertical jump is a good measuring tool for power and explosive strength (used in most major sports, including squash) then logically the vertical jump, used in different variations and techniques, will increase these strengths as well!

Specific Strengths required for/built through the vertical jump:

STARTING STRENGTH: The ability to accelerate a load from rest.

ACCELERATIVE STRENGTH: The ability to move the load quickly through the concentric phase of a movement. Very important for vertical jumping. As Jon Hinds who invented the Portable Power Jumper says – “Slow jumping is low jumping”. The quicker you can jump, the higher you will jump.

ABSOLUTE STRENGTH: Your ability to lift loads that are of a high percentage of your weight.

REACTIVE STRENGTH: The ability to convert eccentric force back into concentric or vertical power. It is basically your ability to use the stretch shorten reflex.

RELATIVE STRENGTH: This may be the most important strength quality a vertical jumping athlete can have. It basically refers to how strong we are per pound of body weight (athletes who have a high strength to weight ration, and who can apply that strength quickly, i.e. also possess high accelerative capabilities are generally very explosive).

“As the Trunk grows, so must the leaves and branches”

Vertical jump training IS NOT lower body training! Instead, it is total body training. It is power lifting, plyometrics, calistetics, core strength, flexibility, co-ordination, and balance. The vertical jump requires the entire bodies output of strength and power. In addition to building a capable lower body, the core and upper body must be able to match the output respectively in order to maximize output. This is where the explosive swing of a tennis players arm, the power of a swimmers shoulders, and the speed of a forwards slap-shot comes from… Total body power!

 Join Colby for a camp that focuses specifically on improving your vertical jump and receive all of the added benefits.  Click here or on the picture above for more details.

This post was brought to you by Colby Martin.  Colby is an IFA certified personal trainer who has, for the past 10 years, been helping a wide variety of clients achieve their personal fitness goals.   Colby continues to enjoy training a wide range of clients, including high level athletes looking to maximize their potential output to individuals working to regain a fit and healthy lifestyle.  To contact Colby, please call Windsor Squash & Fitness Club or colby@windsorsquash.ca

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