Reaching Greater Heights
Exercise Technique for the Vertical Jump
Most land-based athletic events require athletes to jump or leap in one way or another. Therefore, the ability to jump without losing balance is thought to be desirable by many coaches and athletes. Furthermore, the ability to jump higher or farther than an opponent generally increases the odds of a successful performance outcome. So, how do you increase the vertical jump performance of your athletes? The first step is to dismiss the various myths about jumping and then develop a progression that sets your athlete up for success.
Jumping Ability is Purely Genetic:
Many athletes are naturally gifted and one of the most common myths is that 100% of an athlete’s jumping abilities are genetic. Genetic gifts may indeed be a factor, but that doesn’t mean your athlete has already reached their full potential, nor does it mean that they can become a better jumper.
Lifting Will “Bulk” Your Athletes:
Another myth is that lifting weights will bulk up your athlete and negatively impact vertical jump performance. Exactly the opposite is true. Resistance training combined with plyometrics training assists in the development of athletic potential, increasing the power output thereby increasing vertical jump performance. In short, the more force your athlete can produce into the ground, the higher their jump potential becomes.
Proper mechanics is among the most important fundamental skills an athlete must learn. Most athletes are able to jump noticeably higher after learning proper mechanics and jumping technique. There are two primary jumps to consider when teaching jumping mechanics: the countermovement jump and the squat jump.
•Athlete starts in an upright standing position
•Rapid downward movement (by flexing the hips, knees, and ankles)
•Immediately extend the hips, knees, and ankles to jump vertically off the ground
•Athlete starts in a shallow squatting position
•The squat is held for a second or two before rapidly extending the legs to jump vertically off the ground
•Jump does not involve pre-stretching muscles, rather, a forceful upward motion only
The two main exercise protocols to promote noticeable gains in vertical jumping ability are plyometrics and strength training. Strength training allows the production of more force against the ground and therefore a higher jump, whereas plyometrics training increases explosive muscular power. Another common exercise scheme found to improve vertical jump is superset training, alternating between plyometrics exercises and strength training exercises in the same workout.
Source Article: Brown, K. Elevation: Vertical Jump Training Exposed. NSCA Performance Training Journal 7(1): 4-5, 2008.
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A note from Ann Mazzola, RN.
March is National Nutrition Month! I’d been thinking about some healthy eating tips I could share with you to get you started when, lo and behold, didn’t I get an email from some of you asking for healthy meal plans!
So, I did a little research and found a website that offers meal planning that not only will help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight, but is also heart-healthy – which will help you get your numbers into the healthy zone and also ties in quite nicely with last month’s national health initiative, heart health. And, as with any information I pass along to you, such as the fitness tracker applications MyFitnessPal, Lose It!, parkPeople and SuperTracker, the menu plans are free.
Start by going to www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/weight_loss_diet_plans/diet_meal_plans/7_day_hearthealthy_meal_plan.
If you want to lose weight, the introductory page tells you how to choose a plan that will help you lose weight at one or two pounds per week. But, while the math is correct, I would never recommend cutting 1,000 calories from your daily diet because that kind of caloric restriction is just too severe and hard to maintain. However, if you cut 500 calories from your daily diet (providing you don’t drop below 1,200 calories per day) and burn 500 calories through exercise, that equals a calorie deficit of 1,000 per day, or a projected two-pound loss per week.
In my opinion, however, even that is hard to maintain: I prefer the one-pound-a-week plan, because cutting 250 calories per day is much more doable over the long-term and doesn’t trick your metabolism into thinking you are starving yourself, which can slow down your metabolism. Burn an additional 250 calories through exercise and you’ve got yourself a sustainable plan. Begin by clicking on “how to choose the right calorie level,” read the instructions and choose how many calories per day you want your menu to provide. In general, to maintain your weight, you multiply your weight by 12; to lose weight, subtract 250 to 500 from that number. Then, go back to the first page (hit the back arrow or re-enter the above link), scroll down to “calorie level,” and click on the calorie amount you chose (1200, 1400, 1600, etc.). Your 7-day menu will appear and all you have to do to follow it is click on “day 1,” “day 2,” etc. Click on the meals highlighted in green, and you will get the recipes for those meals, including their nutritional info. I like this feature because, if you’re not thrilled with the dinner planned for that night, for example, you can browse the other recipes for a recipe you do like with a similar calorie count.
Also, when you follow a meal plan, grocery shopping is so much easier and less expensive – you’re not as tempted to buy things you
don’t need (and probably shouldn’t eat too much of, anyway!)
Are you looking to take your workout to the next level? If so I have the perfect thing for you! Join me and your fellow members for 1 hour of intense strength and conditioning at our very own fitness park! This hour will include: battling ropes, tire flipping, monkey bars, TRX suspension training, sandbags, and plyometrics!
Come join the fun Wednesday afternoons at 4:30 pm! (more dates to be announced).
For more information contact Nate directly @ email@example.com or 508-746-7448 ext 43