When looking for ways to increase vertical jump, plyometrics training is one major way to achieve this goal. Plyometrics is a form of exercise that is designed to let the muscles develop explosive strength when learning how to jump higher. This type of exercise originated in the former East Bloc and was credited with the superior athletic performance of athletes from Russia and East Germany. The term plyometrics was given by an American, which meant “measurable increases”.
For plyometrics, body weight alone is sufficient because this exercise creates high forces, some estimates put the impact at 20 times the body weight. Speed of execution is emphasized when exercising on how to increase vertical lift, because the goal of the training is to teach the muscles to respond quickly and powerfully.
Deep inside the physiology of the muscle, plyometrics affects how the muscles are connected to the nerves such that reaction time is made faster. Plyometrics also develop the kind of muscles that react quickly to stimulus and these are the so called fast twitch muscles, which are important when training on how to jump higher.
Delving still into the physiology of muscles, plyometrics trains muscles to react explosively by teaching the muscle to pre-stretch, which is important in training on how to increase vertical lift. A muscle that creates power by concentric movement can get additional force if it was pre-stretched before the muscle moves and pre-stretching must take place immediately before concentric movement. Upon training on how to increase vertical jumping ability, plyometric exercises trains the leg muscles to pre-stretch before doing the actual concentric movements that makes the individual jump into the air.
The most well understood plyometric training for learning how to increase vertical jumping height is the depth jump. The depth jump requires a robust platform where one needs to stand on. The individual simply drops off the box. Upon landing, some of the impact is absorbed by bending the knees a little bit thus perform muscle pre-stretching. After landing, one has to jump up as high as possible.
As simple as plyometrics may sound, these exercises are highly injurious and should only be performed by highly fit individuals who want to train on how to increase vertical jumps. If an individual is undergoing periodized training on how to jump higher, plyometrics must be done on the power phase and only after a phase to increase the body’s basal level of fitness has been done.
In plyometrics, correct form and execution is important as a measure to lessen injury when learning how to jump higher. When one perfects form, the correct muscle groups are engaged and body shocks are minimized during training on how to increase vertical lift. Incorrect form may lead to improper landings which can injure the joints or muscles.
Similar to other forms of exercises, a warm-up period is important and so is maintaining proper hydration when exercising on how to jump higher. Warm up movements should mimic movements during the exercise proper when training on how to increase vertical jumps. The correct technique for hydration is to drink an hour before training and to drink regularly during the actual exercise. One should not wait for thirst as a signal to take in water.