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Exercises to Jump Higher - Jump Higher By Properly SquattingBy Jacob W. Hiller, CPT, Performance Enhancement Coach, Certified Personal TrainerAuthor of The Jump Manual
The squat is a great exercise that works the quads, glutes, hams and core. This is an activity-specific exercise for vertical jump training because it closely mirrors the muscle activation during a vertical jump. Therefore, when it comes to building a strength base, squats should be a staple of your routine.
Properly executing a squat is very important because it will avoid injury. Also, tweaking the movement a bit is best if you want to carry it over to the vertical jump.
There are dozens of variations on the squat that can benefit you based on your personal needs and goals. For the majority of people the greatest benefit can be achieved from doing the back squat.
Exercises to Jump Higher - Safety Considerations When Performing The Back Squat
Keeping a locked straight back is really important when bearing heavy loads. If your back is getting sore, you are probably curving your spine which results in excessive lumbar strain.
Learning how to keep your back straight and developing proper glute and hamstring flexibility is very important when performing correct and safe squats.
I recommend a faster and more explosive concentric or upward movement when doing the squat. If your form is not good or you try to lift too much weight too soon, you risk straining your back. Thus, I recommend a slow pace until you master proper form and develop more strength to engage in higher velocity movements.
Click the PLAY button on the media player box below to watch an instructional video on how to do a proper SQUAT.
How to do Squats -- powered by eHow.com
Exercises to Jump Higher - How Much Weight Should You use?
You should do 85% of your 1 rep max (meaning 85% of the weight you are able to do once) is a great way to maximize your strength and muscle fiber recruitment.
Exercises to Jump Higher - Movement Focus
The downward portion of the movement should be slow and controlled and it should take you about 4 seconds. There are other versions that are done with a faster eccentric phase. However, they are more about building strength.
The concentric (upward) movement should be done as quickly as you possibly can. Try to go for a 2 second upward movement. The important element here is your "intent to move explosively" so that you get the most transfer to the actual movement on your vertical jump.
Exercises to Jump Higher - How Often Should You Squat?
Although this varies from person to person (because each of us have a different ability to recover from stress), it's advised to squat two times every 8 days with at least 48 to 72 hours of rest between sessions.
If you go into the weight room and the same weight feels heavier to lift than before, that means you haven't allowed for enough rest and recovery time and are risking injury.
If you are feeling sluggish or tired, make sure you take more days off for rest. One of the leading causes of injury and poor results is overtraining. Consistent and satisfying results can be obtained by providing an extra day of rest.
Exercises to Jump Higher - Squat Reps, Sets & Resting Time
The number of repetitions is more important than the number of sets you do. You need to do the heaviest amount of weight with the highest speed possible. You don't want to lift while you are fatigued or feel sluggish. If you have to pause the lift or you "get stuck" lower the weight or lower the number of reps per set. Try to do 3 to 6 reps with 85% of your 1RM (1 rep max). Shoot for a total of 25 reps with this load. Once again, sets are just there for convenience - if a set slows then stop it, recover and start again.
Give yourself enough time to rest in between sets so that you get the absolute max effort for each and every set. This rest time can take 2 to 5 minutes because you are not training for endurance, you are training for power. Don’t go for the burn because the goal is to move heavy weights at high speeds.
Exercises to Jump Higher - Warming Up
Activity-specific warm ups are extremely important. A general warm up followed by one or two sets at 25 to 40 % of your 1RM, allows your muscles to warm up and get ready for a specific activity and therefore prepare for higher loads and greater stress.
Exercises to Jump Higher - Concluding Pointers
- Make sure you work your glutes and not just the quads. Lift your bottom throughout the entire movement and feel your glutes work as you drive your hips through. Engaging the glutes and building strength in these fast-twitch muscles helps you better use your glutes during a vertical jump. So, stick your bum out...
- Do box squats that allow you to touch (not sit) a point and explode up again are a great training tool. Don't completely sit on the box (or flat bench) and allow the weight to compress down on your back. Find a box or bench that represents a parallel position of your legs.
- In general you want to get to the point where you can squat 2.5 times your body weight. You will need to build strength so that your speed is not slowed by the resistance of your body. If your squat weight is low that means your entire body will be heavier to your legs and your contraction speed will be slowed, which means your jump will be lower.
Thus, before you even think about a maximum contraction speed, you must achieve enough strength to overcome the resistance of your body weight.
- Carry over your squat to your vertical jump and maintain current speed level when you jump.
The Jump Manual shows you the effective accommodating exercises, synaptic facilitation, contrast training, over-speed training and plyometrics that will help you jump higher.
About the Author
Jacob Hiller has trained high school, college, NBA, and Olympic athletes, and professional dunkers. He has been developing vertical jump explosion techniques for over ten years and training coaches and athletes to maximize their potential. He has consistently helped athletes to gain 40+ verticals.
For more information on his exclusive JUMP MANUAL visit www.jumpmanual.com
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