Vertical Jump – A Brief Overview
Vertical jump is simply how high you can jump off both legs. It’s not to be mistaken for a one-legged running leap which is a skill used by long jumpers and requires transitioning from a full sprint into a leap executed off one leg. The distance between your feet at your maximum height and the floor is what is referred to as your vertical jump and it is usually measured in inches.
How Important Is It?
The importance of a good vertical jump is dependent upon your type of athletic endeavour. Obviously if you are a high jumper or long jumper it is totally useless; however if you play basketball, volleyball or even football, an explosive vertical jump could give you great advantages.
It is especially important to basketball and volleyball players. A lot of College basketball recruiters look at the athlete’s vertical as a key measure of his athletic potential when deciding whether to recruit a young athlete.
College Basketball, NBA and even NFL teams will always measure an athletes vertical during try-outs and while there are much more important indices that will be evaluated, a good vertical jump is always desirable in the final analysis.
How To Measure Vertical Jump?
A Jump test can be conducted to measure your jumping ability. To do this you require a wall (marked would be preferable) a tape rule and powdered chalk.
To get an accurate measure; do the following:
1) Warm up. A light jog or skipping should be sufficient
2) Dip your hand in the chalk
3) Face the wall and raise your hand (the one marked in chalk) till it reaches its highest point and touch the wall. Make sure you mark this point so it is visible.
4) Now jump as high as you can (remember off both legs) and make a mark on the wall
5) Repeat the jump multiple times (between 3-5 is sufficient) making sure you jump as high as you can and touch the highest point physically possible for you
6) Measure the distance between your standing reach and the highest point you touched (your best jump)
7) Congratulations! You’ve got a reasonably accurate measure of your vertical
How Can You Improve Your Vertical Jump?
It can be improved with training. Your ability to jump is dependent on strength and power. Both can be improved greatly through the right kind of exercise.
Lower body strength is extremely important for jumping. You require strong legs as a base for jumping and this can easily be improved by spending some time in the gym. The best exercises for developing strength that’s key for jumping are squats and dead lifts. This is because both two exercises are compound exercises. Compound exercises are those workouts that work the whole body.
Strength alone is not enough to get you jumping high. In fact some of the athletes with the most leg strength are poor jumpers. This is because jumping – especially explosive leaping – requires you to be able to call upon this strength quickly.
To do this you need quickness—- lots of it and this is where good old plyometrics come in. Plyometric exercises are usually jumping and bounding exercises that are performed with great intensity in order to improver power and quickness.
There are many kinds of plyometric exercises. These include: tuck jumps, obstacle jumps, zig zag hops, burpees, skipping and even jumping jacks.
They can all be useful but perhaps the most important thing one should keep in mind is that all these exercises would be inefficient if not performed with maximum intensity.
We’ve gone through various aspects of vertical jump including how to measure and improve upon it. It’s important to note that the secret to improving your leap or any other kind of athletic skill is to have a multifaceted approach to training.
So while we’ve only touched on the exercises that improve vertical jump, you need to realise that a whole lot more including sports psychology, diet, recovery, genetics and lifestyle are also key in any training manual designed to improve your jumping ability.