In this post, we will take a look at the technique of a standing jump and how you can improve it just by a few slight adjustments.
Let’s break a jump into 4 phases.
First phase is the preparatory, or the eccentric phase, when you go down. Your shoulders are stretched, quads are stretched, glutes and back muscles, as well as calves. Why is that important to note? Because of something called a stretch reflex.Your body has a way of measuring the change of length in a muscle, so if it occurs too quickly, your central nervous system sends signal to that muscle to contract. That’s the body’s injury prevention system in place, but we can use it in our advantage to generate more force quicker. The faster the stretch, the faster the reflex, that is why this eccentric phase needs to be as quick as possible.
In the propulsion, or the concentric phase, arm swing is something of interest. Notice how arms stop at a certain point? This way, they transfer momentum gained to the rest of the body, helping to generate a lift. If you have a lot of mobility in your shoulders, you can swing them further back creating more distance over which more speed can be generated. More speed equals more momentum, and higher jump overall.
In the flight phase, we’re preparing ourselves for the landing. According to the law of conservation of angular momentum you can’t change the position of your body mid air. If you move your arms backwards, the trunk and the legs will move forward to compensate. Feet will reach the wall sooner, so you can start controlling the landing phase right away. Landing on the balls of your feet is preferable, as well as landing with a decent amount of muscle stiffness. Sinking all the way to deep squat transfers energy right into your skeletal system which we do not want; that’s the job for muscles and tendons.
So to recap: Drop down and swing your arms back as fast as possible. Just before the takeoff block with your arms. Swing the arms back once again, bring the chest to your knees and try to land nicely 😀 There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to takeoff angle, arms blocking point or something else. Play around with these elements to learn the optimal way to use them.