Improving Jumping Performance

In order to increase your standing jumps you can either improve your technique or get stronger and today we will focus on the latter. There are a couple of factors involved, but we’re excluding some of them for simplicity sake and we’ll say that rate of force development is the leading factor that determines the outcome of your precision jump. You can look at it as the speed at which your muscles generate force, so, creating as much force as possible in the quickest amount of time. (It’s the derivative of force with respect to time)

There are quite strong relationships between maximum strength, RFD and power output, power being closely related to jumping performance.

If you can lift more weight with your one maximum effort, you will most likely be able to move let’s say a third of that weight a lot faster than before. At least that is the case in athletes who didn’t put that much time in the weight-room.

For them maximum strength training produces as good or better increases in RFD and POWER then does power training alone.

If you’re one of those people who’s been jumping a lot you got ever so slight or no increase in your jumping ability, it’s time to switch up your training. For stronger athletes a more complex approach is necessary, where you gradually transfer to power work whilst maintaining those high levels of strength.

In order to achieve that we recommend weight room of course. You want to be focused on back squats and front squats as your primary exercise for the time being. For the complementary ones you can incorporate almost anything and make it work, but the usuals are Deadlifts, Bulgarian Split Squats, Lunges, and isolation exercises. Later on in your training you can include power lifts like high pulls, power cleans and snatches. Post activation potentiation complexes (PAP) are also something you want to be interested in.

If you don’t want to go to a gym for some reason, there are still options you can do. You can practice squats with your training buddies on your back, or do pistol squats for days. In this way options are quite limited and you don’t have much control over the intensity of your training, so the results wont be as good as gym training but it should still work to an extent.

You want to lift 2-3 times a week for a steady progress, but it’s important to still keep jumping. We’ve seen a lot of guys who completely switch from parkour to the gym, and in a few months they become immobile bricks. Don’t make that mistake, keep training parkour at least once or twice per week.

Couple of studies are showing that among intermediate and advanced athletes strength training combined with sports training produces superior results, and that combination work of heavy lifts with power training produces greater results then does either of these two variants alone.