I’ve been trying for years to improve my vertical leap. Any suggestions on how I can do this?
Have you read “White Men Can Jump” by Ian King at T-mag?
Use the search engine for an article titled “White Men Can Jump”. It outlines an 8-12 week program for increasing your vertical.
deads. and jump.
heavy squats and hang power snatches.
Squats of all sorts, olympic lifts and hybrids, practice dunking or jumping with a medicine ball - honestly, it is not that complicated, but it takes serious effort to drive the vert up
john you said, “…practice dunking or jumping with a medicine ball…” that will only help you jump higher with a medicine ball! get the muscles used in jumping stronger (which I think deads and overhead presses will do better then any other exercises) and practice jumping.
I made great gains by jumping/running with a weighted belt (10-15lbs) for 10-20 minute short workouts.
In “Designing Resistance Training Programs” Fleck and Kraemer give details of a study which compared jump squats, plyometrics and strength training in effectiveness for increasing verticle jump. Jump Squats proved to be vastly superior, then plyometrics and quite a distance behind strength training. Get the book from the library if you want the details, or just get it anyway it is an excellent read. When performing JS’s the key is to select a weight light enough so you don’t have to pause at the bottom of your descent but can istantaneously reverse your momentum so that you explode throughout the full ROM of the ascent not slowing down but continuing to explode straight up so that you leap a little into the air at the end. Other things to remember: you are training for nueral adaptions so once fatigue starts to result in reduced performance terminate workout; keep reps low <5 preferably no geater than 3; keep rest periods long 3-5min; in accordance with the principle of specificity your squat stance should mirror as close as possible the stance you adopt when jumping , this will ensure you derive maximum benefit from your training; and finally, and this relates back to the previous point on specificity, the distance you descend should mimick the distance you descend when preparing to jump, there is absolutely no point in descending to or past paralell as you would be training motor unit firing patterns which you would not be using when you jump. Think about it when was the last time you descended to paralell before jumping up?
REMEMBER The True Key to success in both JS’s and Plyo’s is SPEED! You should reverse the momentum of your descent and explode into ascent as if you had just stepped onto a hotplate. BTW if do decide to periodize some plyometric’s into your training as well, “Essential Strength Training and Conditioning” by NSCA has an excellent section devoted to this topic with well shot photos detailing the many plyo exercises that can be done and how they should be performed.
I really like using a medicine ball to practice some of my dunks. It is harder to do and requires more explosion from the ground, more body control and a better grip. I realize that improving a vertical jump does not always need to be done so that someone can dunk, but 9 times out of 10 that is what people seem to want if they are asking how to improve a vertical jump.
Of course, that exercise is secondary to building an incredibly strong and powerful posterior chain and quadriceps.