Jumps play an important role in almost every sport. A persons’ ability to jump is dependent upon many factors including strength, plyometric ability and coordination, and is actually a very trainable skill.
Jumping ability exercises are all very dynamic and require a large amount of muscle groups working in synchronisation. All jump training should therefore be preceded by a thorough warm up and progress steadily. Due to the neurological demand of these exercises, jump training should be done when fresh and not under fatigue.
Try some of the tips below and see how much your jumping can improve.
1. Landing mechanics
Training your landing mechanics is the foundation of all jump training. Ensuring that your landing mechanics are solid reduces injury risk and ensures load is distributed evenly for optimal force absorption.
Start off performing a simple two footed jump horizontally, aiming for around 25% of your maximal effort. This should feel easy and the focus is on landing in a quarter squat position with feet well aligned with knees.
Once this skill is mastered, try taking off from 2 feet and landing on one.
2. Box jumps
Jumping up onto a box reduces the impact of the landing but gets you used to the concept of putting some force into your jump.
Start off small; take off on 2 feet and land in the mechanically solid position you’ve practiced previously.
Box height can be increased as you develop confidence and strength in your jumping. Use arms to assist in the driving action as you push off into the jump.
This can be done with both double leg take offs and single leg.
3. Multiple jumps over obstacles
This involves jumping over hurdles, cones, bottles, whatever you choose to use! This type of training is plyometric - muscles eccentrically load as you absorb the impact from the landing, before rapidly contracting concentrically to push off into the next jump.
Again, start off with small obstacles not too far apart and get used to the timing. The aim here is to be fast off the floor between obstacles.
Once this skill has been mastered, you can have some fun with this one, developing yourself an obstacle course to get around. Jumps here can be done with both legs or single legs.
4. Jumps with pre-run
This type of training tends to be more specific for most sports, as rarely in sports does one jump from a static start. Think of movements in football, basketball, handball; mostly athletes will sprint then launch into a jump.
Start simply performing a 5m run into a vertical jump.
Obstacles can be added for an additional challenge, try jumping onto a box following your run. Here we are challenging the coordination of movement and the ability to change from a horizontal force to a vertical one. Always ensure the landing mechanics are sound.