Strength and Jumping… What you Need to Know!

This article is guest blogged by Jacob Hiller of www.jumpmanual.com

Do you need to be strong or are plyometrics enough? How strong is strong enough?

But…

- How strong is strong enough?

- Can you be buff and jump higher?

Getting strong is not only a pre requisite to patting your ego, it’s also a requirement to reaching your greatest athletic achievements.

Strength matters because gravity exists AND it’s slowing you down.

In order to overcome your bodyweight and gravity you must have sufficient strength to produce the requisite force.

I know this sounds simple, but many people just don’t understand why strength is important for athleticism.

It’s true that plyometrics and increased movement efficiency can help you move faster, but for the majority of athletes the greatest results in athleticism will come from increasing strength.

Without strength you can’t even demonstrate the limb speed which you are already capable, and this is can be scientifically demonstrated.

I’m able to work with “fancy” equipment that enables me to measure the velocity, acceleration, force, and power of any movement. It’s really an invaluable training and research system but unfortunately it’s too expensive now for the average gym goer.

In several minutes I can determine the velocity (which actually determines your jump height) at which you are able to perform a jumping movement in the absence of resistance.

It shouldn’t be any surprise that ALL athletes can perform the movement faster in the absence of resistance.

What this means is that if we can reduce your weight OR increase your ability to overcome your bodyweight (strength) you can move closer to the speed you are ALREADY capable of.

Sounds simple right?

The problem is that many athletes and coaches end up targeting strength in the wrong “prime movers” and end up strengthening muscles and movements that don’t make the greatest impact upon the desired movement… in this case the vertical leap. But this is an entirely different article.

Now here comes the question that we hear so often:

How much strength is enough… or too much?

Now the answer should be pretty easy:

You have enough strength when you can overcome your bodyweight at the SAME speed you could move in the absence of resistance. Of course most people will never reach this.

You have too much strength when developing more strength does nothing more then create excess bodyweight, which you may or may not want.

To sum this up…

Strength is that quality which allows us to perform athletic movements at the highest speeds our muscles are capable of.

Without proper strength, our bodyweight and gravity would decelerate our movements.

Strength is sufficient when bodyweight and gravity no longer slow our movements.

A final note on speed…

We have focused on strength on this article and the far reaching benefits of increasing your strength. Increasing the speed of your movement, your movement efficiency, your form, and other facets will also serve to maximize your vertical leap.

For a comprehensive vertical jumping program visit: www.jumpmanual.com

Jacob Hiller is a performance enhancement specialist and performance consultant. Coach Hiller has trained in over 22 countries and 4 different languages. His services have reached amateur, pro, and Olympic level athletes and coaches. Hiller is also the creator of “The Jump Manual” a comprehensive approach to vertical jump training.

Here are my recommendations for products & services I've reviewed & used personally that can improve your results. This is a short list since it only includes my top picks.

  • Freelap - Accurately time yourself to 100th of a second (i.e. 9.53)
  • SpeedCoach EMS - the only EMS for training, recovery and rehab
  • GymBoss – Run 400m? The best $19 timer for Circuit Training
  • Complete Speed Training – Complete 12 DVD set for training speed
  • Funny how everyone thinks that gravity is the enemy and you need to be stronger to work against gravity. When gravity is your best friend. If you want to jump higher learn to internally load the muscles better.