Learning to jump higher is a specific type of training that has many uses in sports, gymnastics, martial arts and even in every day life. However it is usually basket ball players and martial artists that go as far as to actively train their vertical jump. When they do so there are a variety of methods that can be used, with ankle weights and weighted vests being particularly popular.
The way ankle weights and weighted vests work is by fitting tightly on the ankles or chest of the wearer respectively in order to strap a larger weight to them than they would normally carry in bodyweight alone. This way all training becomes a more intense form of resistance training. Simply jumping normally then will become more of a workout – requiring more strength to generate the same height so that when the additional weights are removed the individual can jump much higher and so that overtime this ability increases. The weights can also be worn while an individual goes about their day to day lives – the more they where the extra weight, the more the muscles in the legs will be forced to compensate.
There are a large variety of other training methods that can be used to increase jumping height however, and the best training routine will make use of as many as possible. To make each move even more effective though, you can combine these usual training methods with weighted vests or weighted ankles in order to make them even more effective.
One other method of training your jumping height is to use ‘plyometrics’. Plyometric training basically describes any training method that utilises fast explosive movements to launch the individual or to make sudden moves or changes in direction. These moves utilise the ‘fast twitch’ muscle fibres in the body, whereas slower endurance type training uses the ‘slow twitch’ fibres. Jumping itself is a plyometric movement that uses the fast twitch muscle fibres so these are the ones you want to try and train.
To use plyometric training on the legs you can use box jumps – jumping onto and off of a box in a fast explosive manner. Or doing star jumps or jack in the boxes are all great plyometric methods for training the legs. To make it harder add the extra weight and use your plyometric training to give your leg muscles a crazy workout.
Training the calves generally is also a good route to improving your jumping height. One of the best ways to do this is using calf raises, where you stand with the balls of your feet on a raised platform, then raise yourself up by going onto to tip toes using your calves. To make this harder you allow your heel to drop below the raised platform at the low point of the movement, and to make it extremely hard you can use just one leg with the other tucked behind your ankle. Add an ankle weight to this and you have a great workout.
Another popular type of jump training is to jump on a more difficult surface. For example jumping on sand, or jumping out of shallow water, either of which require a lot more power in order to get the same kind of height. To continue the pattern then, combine this kind of training with the extra weight and you will be greatly increasing the challenge.
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