Jumping is a simple movement that all people have done at one point or another.
Something as basic as jumping has become something that athletes struggle to do. We spend a lot of time teaching athletes how to properly take off and land correctly. This is important for not only safety, but actually getting some benefits from jump training.
There are a lot of reasons to like jumping to enhance an athletes speed and agility.
They are simple in nature. Jumping does not have to complicated. Adding broad jumps to an athletes program will help them become more explosive.
Most young athletes do not take the time to actually train for jumping. This means that it will provide the opportunity for them to adapt to that type of training. This results in a more explosive athlete.
Jumps do not need special equipment. There are a lot of things we can use to help jump training. We will use bands, weights, boxes, hurdles, whatever else we have in the gym.
Just because we have it does not mean that it is absolutely required. A lot of good progress can come without fancy things. Most athletes will benefit most from a very simple approach at first and making things more complex over time.
We have a lot of variations of jumps. I was talking with one of my current interns this week about progression chart of jumps. After thinking about it, I am not sure that it is possible. There are so many variations of jumps that it takes a lot of time to understand them all. Beyond that you can add sprints, multiple jumps, or multi directional movement to further train speed and agility.
Just as an example, a broad jump can take on many different types. We can do singles, continuous, lateral, 1/4 turn, 1/4 to a broad to a sprint, etc. The possibilities are endless.
Jumping can help train an athlete to accelerate. A lot of athletes (and parents as well) want to become faster. They feel slow and want to outrun their opponents.
Using jumps can help the athlete become more explosive which will help their start and their speed. When training for acceleration the take off of the jump is the most important. We can use a band to resist the jump and help the athlete overcome the load to produce force.
Jumping can help train an athlete to decelerate. Athletes that want to be quicker are probably lacking the ability to slow themselves down quickly. This lack of deceleration robs them of quickness.
When landing a jump we are decelerating forces greater than body weight. Being able to stick a landing in a position that simulates the take off position, shows good deceleration. Athletes that cannot put the brakes on will see their hips drop to their ankles when they land a jump. This is inefficient for slowing down.
Using a band to assist a jump is a good way to train deceleration. The tension in the band allows the athlete to jump further than they normally would. This trains a greater demand on slowing down.
Jumps are easy to add overload. In order to add difficulty to a jump we can add reps, distance, or resistance. The name of the game when adding weights to jumps is light. If the weight on a jump is too heavy then very little power is developed. Power is strength displayed quickly and without speed, movement cannot be powerful.
Try performing vertical jumps with 10-15 lbs dumbbells in each hand.
Keys to Success
Watch Form and Technique- Good take off and landing mechanics are going to make jumps most effective.
Keep the Impact Low- When the athlete lands a jump it should be soft and quiet. Loud stomps mean a lot of impact on the lower body.
Short Work Bouts, Longer Rest- Start by keeping the reps low and giving a decent rest period. Younger kids recover quicker so there is an art to how long in between jumps.
When in Doubt, Simplify- There are a lot of creative ways to train for jumps. Stick with the basics until you have a good understanding of what is going on. A lot of athletes have gotten great results without crazy training protocols.