Jumping higher may seem like an impossible task, but it really just comes down to a few simple principles. In this article, I’m going to cover the key things that you need to focus on if you want to improve your leaping ability.
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Progressive overload is actually a term that I have borrowed from the bodybuilding world. What it basically means is that with each workout you need to be lifting more weight or doing more reps.
For example, let’s say that during week one I did squats using a weight of 125 pounds. I performed 3 sets for 10 reps. If i utilize the technique of progressive overload then my workout chart should look like the following.
Squat ChartSquat example using progressive overload.
As you can see, one of the three aspects of the exercise (weight, sets, reps) needs to increase every week.
Keep in mind that if you increase the weight of an exercise it is ok to reduce the number of reps to a manageable level. You can see an example of this during the transition between week 2 and 3.
Your workout chart would obviously have more exercises than this each week, but this squat example should give you an idea of how to manage your exercises.
One more tip for you is to bring a pen and paper with you to the gym. Write down each weight, set, and rep you do for every exercise. I know you think you can remember what you did the previous week in the gym, but trust me, it’s a lot harder than you think. Pen and paper work wonders.
This one is pretty obvious, but it bears repeating since I see so many people neglecting their diet during their jump training.
When you are trying to jump higher you are going to be working out quite a bit. This means that you are going to be breaking down your muscles, and muscle fibers need proper nutrients to regenerate properly.
If you have a proper diet you’ll gain strength each week. For most guys/girls who aren’t seeing results, it’s almost always due to either poor diet or a lack of progressive overload.
You should aim to eat about 1g of protein per pound of body weight.
Also try to avoid sugary foods such as candy and drinks like pop/soda. Avoid high carbohydrate foods as well such as pasta. These foods aren’t good for you in general, but they also tend to make you gain weight. If you add fat to your body it’s going to be much harder to add inches to your vertical jump.
If you’re having trouble keeping up your diet due to time constraints, or you just don’t like shopping, try adding a protein supplement to your diet. They make it much easier for you to meet your daily protein requirements.
I highly recommend 100% Optimum Whey protein. It tastes good and it is easy on the stomach. Some people have trouble digesting some protein supplements, so look for protein powders that rapidly digest (like Optimum) if you are having stomach issues.
Plyometrics are designed to improve your body’s ability to use its strength and get your body off the ground. Most plyo exercises are designed to be explosive to train your body to be explosive.
When you do plyos your emphasis should be to jump as high as you possibly can when doing your lower body workout. Give each exercise 100% of your effort. If you don’t, you’re not going to see any gains.
Again, you should be using progressive overload for these. If you do 25 ankle bounces during week 1, try doing 30 the next week. If you get up to 50 reps try doing them with light weights in your hands.
This is just one example but this should give you an idea of how to create your workout.
The non-plyometric portion of your workout should be dedicated to strength training. This means doing weight lifting exercises to improve your overall strength.
Squats, deadlifts, leg extensions, and slow calf raises are great for improving your strength.
Using progressive overload is extremely important for improving strength. If you are not increasing the amount of weight or the number of reps, you’re going to find that you won’t see any gains.
I would only recommend doing these exercises one time per week. Performing something like squats twice per week is usually not beneficial. In fact, it can actually cause you to lose inches on your vertical.
The reason that doing a heavy lift like squats twice per week can hurt you is that you’re basically over training. Your body will need time to recover from such a strenuous exercise, so keep that in mind as you do your workouts.
Use A Proven Program
I know I talk about this a lot on this site, but it is incredibly helpful if you can follow a step by step plan to improve your vertical jump. One of the best ways to do this is to use a program that another successful athlete has followed.
Jacob Hiller (who has a 42 inch vertical) created a program called the Jump Manual. It contains everything you need to increase your vertical jump quickly.
You do not need to buy a program, but if you want a system to follow that is proven to get results I highly recommend the Jump Manual.
If you follow the tips I’ve outlined above I can pretty much guarantee that you will jump higher. If you have questions please contact me.