One of the easiest methods for increasing you vertical jump is jumping technique. If you want to improve vertical jumping ability, the first thing you might need to look at is your technique, and then practice jumping as high as possible.
Technique is often an overlooked method that is rarely talked about, but it allows you to increase your vertical fast and provides you with lasting results.
Vertical Jumping Types
In general, there are 2 types of vertical jumps you can do: Standing Vertical Jump (SVJ) or Running Vertical Jump (RVJ). The RVJ can be divided in 2 types of jumps as well: Two-legged jump and single-legged jump. These are all clearly different movements that require different techniques.
Standing Vertical Jump Technique
The SVJ is a simple movement compared to the RVJ, and it is commonly used for testing purposes. It’s an easy jump to master, but there are always a few things that can be done to improve technique:
- There are 2 types of jumps you can do with a SVJ. The first is the squat jump, and the other is the countermovement jump. The first is where the jumper starts from a stationery semi-squatted position, while the latter involves the jumper starting from an upright position, then moving downwards by flexing the knees and hip, then exploding up.
This preliminary downward phase involves the pre-stretching of muscles that will allow most athletes to jump a few inches higher than in the squat jump.
- One of the most important things to do to increase your SVJ is to actually make yourself as tall as possible before you take off the floor. This will facilitate the usage of the stretch shorten cycle, which could potentially improve vertical jumping by a bit.
- Another thing that you need to make sure you are doing is to swing your arms throughout the movement. For a test, stand in an upright position, and then swing your arms all the way up. You should feel yourself “getting taller” and perhaps lifting off a bit. This will provide you with some upwards momentum and makes the vertical jump a full body movement.
Running Vertical Jump Technique
The goal of the RVJ is to be able to use the horizontal speed to help increase your vertical power. This added variable adds a good amount of complexity to the jump. In addition, the technique for a two-leg jump and single-leg jump has some differences, but there are some cues common to both that can help improve performance.
The first concept we can use her is very much in use in the sports of track & field jumping sports like the long jump, triple jump, and high jump. This is the concept of “Maximum Controlled Speed”, which is the maximum speed you can reach without your jumping form breaking down.
The reason for this is that if you lack reactive strength, your ability to rapidly absorb force is drastically affected, and so, if you’re running too fast, technique will break down, which will hurt your vertical jumps. This means that if you figure out your maximum controlled speed, your body will be in a favorable position to propel itself as high as possible in the air.
With this taken care of, a small thing to look at is arm swing. This is similar to the SVJ where it’s a good idea to swing your arms up to provide you with some upwards momentum as you take off.
This leads us to the all-important penultimate step. This is the second to last step when you’re attempting a jump, and it is vital to achieving maximum jump heights.
What makes the penultimate step different than all the other steps is that it is a longer step where you slightly lower your center of gravity to put your body in a more advantageous position to convert horizontal speed and momentum into vertical power. This also leads the last step to be shorter and quicker for the takeoff. Considering this, it is important for your foot to not be too far in front of your body on the last step, and for your body to be in an almost upright position; otherwise, the result will be a lower jump.
All these jumping technique tips apply for both the single leg and double leg jumps, but there are some slight differences between both techniques:
- The absolute last step in your stride is usually longer in a single leg jump when compared to a double leg jump, but it is still always shorter than the penultimate step. This allows you to keep your speed up so you can transfer more power to the vertical jump (Remember, power = speed x strength).
- When jumping with one leg, it is essential to drive the free knee forward to further help change the momentum from horizontal to vertical. This is very important advice from long jump athletes where all jumping is done with one leg.
In conclusion, you can see that the RVJ is a much more complicated movement than the SVJ. This means that you will need to spend more time practicing when you want to increase your RVJ compared to your SVJ. Surprisingly, you will most likely be applying these technique tips subconsciously, and even though this is not a comprehensive anatomical guide to jumping technique, if you think your technique is lacking in one form or another, and you want to improve vertical jumping, then the pointers provided here will surely help you get started.
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