Jump Training For Beginners
I grew up a basketball junkie (and I still am) and all I ever wanted to do was dunk the basketball! Granted, I had a couple in my life, but some may even question that. I was not blessed with height or insane athletic ability. I bought jump plyometric programs off the internet, I wore ankle weights in school and I even purchased those dorky looking “jump shoes.” I was desperate for anything and on top of that, willing to do anything to increase my vertical. For the most part, I was on my own when it came to training myself and I believe that was the one thing holding me back. I needed guidance.
Now jump training is not just for basketball players, it is for all athletes. Bottom line, it’ll make you more powerful and that’s the end goal. Think about it, the ability to jump higher is correlated with how fast your muscles can contract and the force they can generate. This is called POWER! All athletes want to be more powerful, right?? When we focus on power development for my advance athletes, I want my athletes to be explosive while moving some weight. This is when I introduce barbell cleans, weighted jump squats/box jumps and so on. For beginners, I want to see one thing and that is body control when jumping and landing. It may take time to learn, which is ok. Experience is the best teacher. No need to get fancy with complex movements in the beginning. So here are my three go-to exercises for beginners to help increase their vertical jump.
- Box Jumps
- Jump Squat-2’s
- Kettle Bell Clean
The reason I like these three is because they are simple, coachable, and have great results!
- When performing a box jump, I get to see how the athlete jumps and lands. Specifically for jump training, I want to see the athletes “take off” and “landing” look very similar. This is where I get to teach an important aspect in jump training and that is how to absorb forces when landing. If an athlete struggles with landing, then we can focus on other drills to get better at landing.
- The jump squat-2’s are two consecutive jump squats in a row. This is another good “eye test” for me to help fix any flaws I see in the landing phase, such as knees caving in and/or chest and head dropping. The reason these jumps are beneficial is that they train the stretch shortening cycle (SSC). The SSC is essentially a quick muscle contraction after the muscle is stretched in the eccentric phase. Think of this as a rubber band that is stretched and then let go. Imagine how fast the rubber band snaps back to original form, well this is similar to how a muscle can work.
- The Kettlebell Clean is another one I really like. It gives me a chance to teach the clean, without worrying about the catch phase of the barbell. It also prepares athletes to move some weight and eventually transition into the barbell clean. Most importantly, It is a great way to work on triple extension, which is when the ankle, knee and hip are extended at the same time.