The Health & Wellness Corner is brought to you on a monthly basis by students in Waukee High School's APEX program. In consultation with fitness experts from Premier Athlete Training, students research a variety of health & wellness topics focused on improving the well-being of student-athletes. We'll also share a new a variety of fitness tips every month related to the primary topic discussed.
This month's Health & Wellness Corner written by Sophie Havnen, Waukee APEX Associate
Improving Your Vertical Jump
Stretching is an important part of improving your vertical jump. When your hip flexors become tight, it restricts the ability for full muscle contraction. Stretches such as the butterfly, knee to chest, and the pigeon pose will all help to loosen up your hips. Try adding stretching to your daily routine, and you will begin to see major improvements in your vertical jump.
One of the best ways to improve your vertical is by jumping! Here are some fun and effective ways to do this:
Stand on a bench with one foot and hop down from the bench, landing with both feet. When you land, land in a squat and try to reverse your direction upwards into a jump. This exercise will help to build muscle memory and increase your ability to propel yourself upwards.
Next, do 10 box jumps, 10 seated box jumps, and jump rope for 45 seconds.
Some resistance exercises that will help build your lower-body muscles are leg presses, Bulgarian split squats, calf raises, and deadlifts. Use weights that allow for no more than 10 reps and no less than 5 reps. This will help you build explosive power and help you propel yourself high in your jump.
Jumping is a full-body movement, so add in core work to help your body stay in control. Start with exercises like medicine ball throws, hanging leg raises, and reverse planks. All of these exercises also require low reps but contain an explosive manner.
When measuring progress, it is important to measure a benchmark before starting a training program focused on improving an athlete's vertical jump. Once a benchmark is in place, it is much easier to measure progress throughout the process. As a reminder, progress is relative to each individual athlete. An athlete who has not trained their vertical jump will most likely see improvement much more rapidly while an athlete who has focused on their vertical jump previously will reach a point of diminishing returns or plateau. Experts at Premier Athlete Training don't advise frequent testing due to the fact that fatigue can mask performance of an athletes jump. Testing during times of low fatigue or after a slight training deload will often give a more accurate picture of progress.
As a bonus, a lot of the training that is required to increase jump height also improves other sport specific movements that rely on power through the lower leg. Change of direction and sprint acceleration are two such examples. However, it is important to note that to see major improvement in other areas, specific training is recommended as part of a full training program. Lastly, increasing the number of landings in the off-season in a volume-controlled program can increase the amount of landings an athlete can recover from during the season since the volume of landings will most likely decrease.
Training Tips from Premier Athlete Training:
- Bulgarian Split Squat Jumps
- Depth Jump to Vert
- Depth Jump to Broad Jump
- Lateral Broad Jumps
- Triple Broad Jump
- Tuck Knee Jumps
- Broad Jumps
- Split Squat Jumps
The IGHSAU Health & Wellness Corner is created by high school students in Waukee High School's APEX program. The IGHSAU is thankful for its partnership with Waukee APEX to create meaningful content to share with our member schools, student-athletes, coaches, and fans. To learn more about Waukee APEX, click here.