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Increasing Vertical Jump Height

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  • Pages: 10
  • Word count: 2424
  • Category: Running

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The vertical jump is how high a person can jump while you are standing in one place (standing vertical) or running and then jumping (running vertical). Examples of vertical jumps would be jumping for a dunk or rebound in basketball or when you are going up for a block or spiking (hitting) the ball in volleyball. With a lot of people watching the National Basketball Association (NBA), whether it be the dunk contest or really explosive players like Russell Westbrook or Nate Robinson dunk in games, it makes a lot of athletes in middle school and high school want to go out and try to dunk. With different types of training methods that help increase your vertical, such as strength training, doing plyometric exercises, and/or working your jump technique, which method is the best way to do so. Are doing all these training methods together the best way?

Also with a lot of programs out there like the Jump Manual by Jacob Hiller, the Jump Guide and Project Vertical by Tyler Ray (The Jump Guy) of Project Pure Athlete, and Plyovertical by (Coach) Rocky Ullah from I Love Basketball TV, which costs from anywhere from $87 and up, to help you jump higher than you ever did before with their training methods. With positive testimonies on these programs, it leads to more people wanting to purchase these programs as a result to jump higher.

The different training methods show that all of them contribute to the increase of your vertical jump, but not which one is better. In an article by Sanchez-Moreno, Garcia-Asencio, Gonzalez-Badillo, and Diaz-Cueli (2018), found that after resistance (strength) training, consisting of full squats, squat jumps and unloaded jump, led to the increase of the vertical jump of male volleyball players. Other researchers have found that the effects of plyometric exercises, such as squat jumps and lateral over cones (lateral cone hops), has an increase in the explosiveness in the leg muscles and gave them an increase in their vertical jump as well as the long jump (Rajan & Pushparajan, 2010).

However, another research found that participants that used a combination of both strength (weight) training and plyometric training had a more notable increase in their vertical than just strength training and plyometric training alone (Fatouros et al., 2000). Others have said that jump technique, such as doing an arm swing, produced a higher jump height (Lees, Vanrenterghem, & De Clercq, 2004). Also along with the timing of when you should swing your arms makes a difference in how high a person can jump, whether that be a simultaneous arm swing (arms swung back at the same time while going down) or an early arm swing (arms swung back before going down) for the jump (Gutierrez-Davila, Amaro, Garrido, & Rojas, 2014). So will doing all of these training methods give you the maximum jump height on your vertical?

As a result of this, researchers are looking for the best method for people to increase their vertical jump. But is one training method really better than the other methods out there. And is one single method really enough for you to reach your true potential for how high your vertical jump could be.

This paper will evaluate the different training methods for people who want to jump higher in sports, like in football, basketball, and volleyball. Therefore, this paper will discuss and analyze the data of each method of training, strength training, plyometric training, the combination of strength and plyometric training, and jump technique and the effects that each will have on your vertical jump and the best method to increase how high you can jump. The paper will conclude with a comparison of the collected data and determine which one is the best. Is just doing one training method alone is the best way or is it a combination of all the training methods together the best way to let you achieve your maximum potential on your vertical jump?

Personally for me, I grew up watching basketball when I was younger and I have always wanted to dunk the ball. If I wanted to dunk the ball, I knew I would need to be taller and jump as high as I could. So whenever I played basketball, I would go and jump as high as I could every single chance I got. Then I started to play volleyball as well and did the same thing, jump as high as I could because I noticed that volleyball players jump around a lot during games and as time went on my vertical increased from all the jumping I did. Unfortunately for me, I stopped growing, height wise, after middle school. So if I even want to think about dunking or at least touch a NBA regulation rim, 10 feet off the ground, than I would need to jump higher.

The first training method to help you increase your vertical jump is strength training. Strength training is a type of resistance training that builds muscular strength and size in skeletal muscles. The reasoning being that to jump higher, you would need more strength in your legs to push off the ground with a lot of force and propel yourself vertically. Also, studies have shown that strength training can help increase your vertical jumping ability.

For example, Sánchez-Moreno et al. (2018) studied the effects of resistance (strength) training on the vertical jump of 11 professional male volleyball players from the Spanish National League. The players trained two days per week, not on back to back days, for two periods of six weeks. The exercises that were used full squats (FS), where the knees fully flexed and hamstrings make contact with calves, jump squats (JS), and unloaded jumps (VJ), jumping without any weight. The VJ was performed in a 3×3 (3 sets of 3 reps) setting for the first six weeks and a 4×3 setting during the second six weeks. The JS and FS varied from 2-3 sets for both and reps of 4-5 for the JS and 4-6 reps for the FS, with weight ranging from 20 kg and up. By the end of the training periods, their VJ of all the players increased. For the first six weeks, players had a 1.9 ± 2.5 cm difference; the second six weeks, there was a 0.8 ± 3.4 cm difference and a 2.7 ± 2.8 cm difference in total.

In another research, by Channell and Barfield (2008), they studied the effects of ballistic training program, comprised of Olympic lifts (OT), compared to a more traditional resistance training program, comprised of power lifts (PT), on the vertical jump of 27 male high school football players. The athletes were divided into two groups, OT group and PT group, a period of 12 weeks for training. Their vertical jump height was recorded, using a vertec, before and after the program. The exercises varied for the two groups, such as the power clean for the OT group and the squat for the PT group, but shared some lifts, like the bench press and leg presses. For the power clean, the OT group did a 5×5 setting at about 70% their one repetition maximum (1RM). The PT group also did a 5×5 setting at about 70% their 1RM for the squat. Both groups did the bench press in a 3×3 setting at about 95% of their 1RM. After the 12 weeks, both the OT and the PT groups had an increase in their vertical jump height; 2.4 ± 4.7 cm for the OT group and 1.1 ± 3.1 cm for the PT group.

Rønnestad and Kojedal (2011) also studied the effects of heavy strength training on jump performance on 17 Nordic Combined athletes. Nordic Combined is a winter sport where athletes compete in both ski jumping and cross-country skiing. They were assigned to heavy strength training on top of regular Nordic Combined training (STR) or regular Nordic Combined training without heavy strength training (CON). The strength training program was to be done two times a week for a period of 12 weeks; the objective was to improve vertical jump performance. The exercises they used were the deep squat, seated (lat) pull-down, and standing double poling; sets of each exercise varied from 3-5 sets; reps varied from 3-10RM. By the end of the 12 weeks, the results showed that the STR group had an increase in vertical jump performance; the CON group had no notable changes at all in their vertical jump performance.

For each of these strength training studies, high intensity was present in all of the strength training programs. All of them used about 60%-95% of the participants’ 1RM when doing all of the exercises. The programs had the participants perform them at a frequency of about 2-3 times a week until the end of the program. Most of the exercises consisted of lower body movements, such as the full squat and deep squat; also contained upper body movements (e.g. the bench press and seated pull-downs); with some full body movements as well (e.g. the deadlift and the power clean). All of the strength training studies showed that can increase your vertical jump if done consistently a couple of times per week.

Having a strength training program that focuses on the lower body only makes a lot of sense to people because the lower body is mainly used when jumping. But in the studies by Channell and Barfield (2008) and Rønnestad and Kojedal (2011), they both involved upper body and full body movements in the strength training programs they put together. So upper body strength contributes to the vertical jump a little bit, but not a lot of people tend to think about it when they jump. Jumping is a full body movement. It involves not just the lower body, but the upper body as well (e.g. the core (abdominals) and lower back to help stabilize the body and transfer power from the lower body to the upper body). Arms as well because of swinging the arms back before jumping and forward before jumping.

The second training method to help increase your vertical jump is by doing plyometric training. Plyometrics (plyos) are a form of training that works on building the strength and speed (explosiveness) of the muscles in the body. Plyos are sometimes called jump training because it involves the stretching of a muscle(s) and is instantly followed by a contraction (flexing) of the same muscle(s). With the name jumping training, most people would assume that doing plyos would help them jump higher. But is it really an effective way to jump higher? Studies have shown that plyos can increase the vertical jump.

For example, Rajan and Pushparajan (2010) studied the effects of plyometric training on the vertical jump of 30 male volleyball players; jump height for their block and spike were measured before the training began; only the highest attempt was recorded. The plyometric training program had the players train three days a week for a total of six weeks. Reps ranged from 4-6 during the first and second weeks, 6-8 for the third and fourth weeks, and 8-10 for the fifth and sixth weeks; sets were kept consistently at two sets per exercise for all six weeks; exercises consisted of squat jumps, hurdle hops, etc. At the end of the six weeks, the results showed an increase of 3.07 cm for the block jump and an increase of 4.00 cm for the spike jump. Going from the results it shows that plyometrics are an effective way to increase vertical jump height.

Maffiuletti, Dugnani, Folz, Pierno, and Mauro (2002) also studied the effects of electromyostimulation (EMS; the use electric impulses to cause muscle contractions) and plyometric training on vertical jump height on 20 male volleyball players in the Italian Volleyball Federation League; who have been competing in volleyball for at least four years. The training program lasted four weeks for a total of 12 training sessions, three training sessions a week, for about 80 minutes a session; made up of three parts: EMS of the knee extensor (knee straightening) muscles, EMS of the plantar flexor (pointing toes down) muscles, and plyometric jumps.

EMS was done on the knee extensor muscles while the players were seated with the knee flexed at 70° (full knee extension being 0°) and on the plantar muscles while in a standing isometric position (e.g. standing calf raise) for about 26 minutes, then rest for about ten minutes before performing plyometric jumps. The vertical jumps were performed with their hands on their hips to reduce the use of the arms. Squat jump were performed from a static squat position, about 90° of knee flexion for about one second without any initial movement (SJ90°) and from about 70° of knee flexion (SJ70°). After four weeks, there was an increase in the vertical jump of all players, with about a 21% increase from baseline for the SJ90° and about 19% increase from baseline for the SJ70°.

Martel, Harmer, Logan, and Parker (2005) studied the effects of aquatic plyometric training (APT) on the vertical jump (VJ) of 19 female high school volleyball players. Their reasoning for is was that the water provided more resistance and reduce the possibility of injuries and muscle soreness compared to plyometrics done on land. Players performed a APT program two times a week for a total of six weeks in a swimming pool about 122cm (~48in) deep and about 28°C (~82°F); lasting about 45 minutes each training session, which includes warmup, APT, and cooldown all done in the water. APT exercises included: power skips, spike approaches, single and double leg bounding, continuous jumping for height, squat jumps with blocking form, and depth jumps, with 100% effort when performing the exercises. Intensity of the exercises increased every week; e.g. power skips were done along the width of the pool two times a session the first week, three times a session during the second week, four times a session for the weeks three and four, and five times during weeks five and six. The results showed that after six weeks of APT, there was an increase of 11% in the VJ jump compared to baseline (33.4 ± 4.7cm) and notably less muscle soreness.

Stemm and Jacobson (2007) also studied the effects of aquatic-based training and compared it to land-based plyometric training on 21 college males. saying that there is a lot written about the risk of injury doing plyometrics because of impact forces; aquatic-based plyometrics could be just as effective as land-based plyometric exercises and decrease the chances of getting injured because of the density of the water can help reduce impact forces.

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