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How to Improve Your Vertical Jump

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Dear Athlete,

If there’s a single aspect of sports conditioning that many athletes neglect, it’s this: their ability to jump.

Why? Because they can’t see how jumping is in any way relevant to the way they compete – me included, until recently.

Take long, triple or high jumpers – we all know they have to be able to jump as high or far as possible. That’s obvious. And of course basket ball players need to practice their jump – how else would you slam dunk a basket like Michael Jordan or Dirk Nowitzki?

Similarly we understand how important it is to be able to leap forward or jump into the air – if you play volleyball, tennis, badminton or squash.

But distance runners? Track sprinters? Cross country runners and skiers? Rugby and soccer players? Even swimmers?

How on earth, you might ask, can they benefit from a highly-developed ability to spring upwards into the air? Or to leap forward like a jack rabbit?

Stay with me on this one.

You see jump training can enhance your sports performance in any event where you have regular ground contact…. and a couple where you don’t!

In fact, I’ll put it as strongly as this:

Improving your jump ability is essential if you’re to target your full athletic potential.

Indeed, vertical jump conditioning is so vital to serious athletes like you that I’ve just commissioned one of the UK’s leading athletes and coaches to write a training workbook dealing with each of these core sports skills.

But first let me explain why your vertical jump ability is critical to achieving your personal best. In case you’re still a bit unsure.

To illustrate the point, I’ll use distance running – an activity that is about as far removed from jump-centric sports like basketball as you can get.

Once you see how jumping can help endurance runners – who seldom, if ever, need to jump in the course of their event – then I think you’ll also understand how much more important it is that other competitors (footballers, rugby players, gymnasts, cricketers etc etc) develop their jump ability.

How this distance runner used jump training to cut his 5k time by 3.8%

We all know why training for endurance events like long-distance running and cross-country skiing targets the cardio-respiratory system. Because the main physiological prerequisites for endurance success are VO2max, lactate threshold and (in running events) running economy.

However, several recent sports scientific studies have discovered a way to give endurance athletes an extra edge. They took groups of endurance athletes (runners and cross-country skiers) worked on improving their jumping ability, using the kinds of exercises included in our two special reports, and significantly improved their endurance performance.

Indeed, they discovered that testing an athlete’s jump ability was an accurate predictor of their endurance levels!

Why was this the case – and what’s its significance to you?

What these researchers found was that jump training – if carried out the right way – caused the following neuromuscular adaptations in their subjects:

  • improved explosive force production ability (such as rate of force development)
  • increased rate of activation of motor units
  • improved anaerobic energy production, and
  • neural adaptations

The result: improved explosive strength and speed.

This improvement in the athletes’ force production ability (achieved without any reduction in their aerobic capacity) translated into improved (i.e. shortened) ground contact time, improved anaerobic energy production, and better force production during the running gait cycle, all of which added up to more efficient running economy.

In a nutshell, the athletes could run faster and further for longer.

One 5000m athlete slashed his race time from 13.47 to 12.96 – a 3.8% improvement! Simply by doing jump training.

But it wasn’t only 5000m athletes who saw improvements. Similar gains were made in 10k running performances and cross-country skiing.

How jump training can improve athletic performance across a whole range of sports… including some swim events!

In fact, improving your vertical jump performance can help you in so many ways – and all the more so if your chosen event contains an element of jumping forwards or upwards.

Just take these brief examples:

  • Footballers: your range of ball intercept improves, as you’re able to both react faster and reach further when challenging your opponents’ passes. And as a goalie you improve your reaction to penalty shots and other attacks on goal, and are able to cover the ground faster. In short: you stop more balls. If you’re a striker, you’re better able to reach those crosses you’re looking to head into the net – as well as improving your accuracy.
  • Rugby players: your acceleration, feinting and intercept speeds improve, as will your ability to reach overhead balls. Playing lineout? Imagine out-jumping your opponents – every time. Playing on the wing? Use jump training to increase your speed and acceleration in a way that leaves your opponents trailing.
  • Runners: jump training can do wonders for your running economy, particularly if you’re competing in distance events. But it has similar benefits for sprinters – the improvement in your speed out of the starting blocks could amaze you as you explode into action! And there’s a very similar benefit for cross-country skiers looking to improve their speed and stamina over challenging terrain.
  • Basketballers and volleyballers: you’re able to jump higher, further, and improve your all-round speed. Just imagine what that’ll do for your game!
  • Racquet sports: tennis, squash, badminton, netball, lacrosse and other players are able to reach higher lobs, land on the ground more surely after a leap, cross the court or field faster, improve their reach, and tire less easily.
  • Gymnasts: practicing your jumping skills helps both your lift off and – crucially – your ability to land precisely and neatly. A real competitive bonus when you consider how often points can be deducted for a less-than-perfect finish to your routine.
  • Swimmers: I love this one – so I kept it for last! When I first told my training buddies how swimmers could be helped by jumps on land, they laughed.

Until I explained the link…

You see swimmers do ‘jump’ regularly – at the end of each and every lap of the pool. Indeed, as front crawl and backstroke swimmers know full well, your ability to ‘tumble turn’ (or ‘flip turn’) then push off from the wall at maximum speed is essential to success in the sport. Jump training on land is the secret to building a kick that could gain you precious inches every time you tumble turn – and a podium place at the end of the race.

BUT, as I mentioned earlier, to gain these competitive advantages it’s crucial that you do the jump exercises most appropriate to your event, and that you perform them correctly.

Otherwise you run the risk of making little gain for the time and effort expended – or, even worse, getting injured.

Because jump training is strong stuff.

Which is why I recently asked one of our expert contributors to the Peak Performance newsletter, John Shepherd, to put together a workbook specifically focussed on the right way to do jump training.

Find out the right way to do jump training – courtesy of an expert practitioner

John Shepherd is an authority in the art and science of jump training, both as an athlete and a coach. An athlete who knows how to teach it – and how to do it.

A regular long jump member of the Great Britain and England athletic teams in the eighties and nineties, John continues to compete today at Master’s level. Indeed, he is the reigning BMAF long jump champion in the M45 category – and has been so for the last five years.

What’s more, he has translated his jump abilities into success in the sprints – taking a silver medal in both the 100m and 200m events at the 2007 UK Masters Champs, and fourth place at the M45 World Masters in the same year.

A sports centre manager for over ten years and coach to a number of international jumpers, John holds numerous professional, academic, sports and leisure qualifications, including a PE degree and masters degree. And he is the author of four books on training, competition and exercise.

John is currently putting the final touches to his practical workbook –

How to Improve Your Vertical Jump.

Each of these specialist training manuals was written with the same three objectives in mind. To show you:

  • how to identify which individual jump exercises are most appropriate to your sport
  • how to integrate jump training with the rest of your training & conditioning regime, and
  • the right way to practice jump training so as not to risk either over-training or chronic sports injury

So when you download your electronic workbook (Adobe Acrobat PDF format) you’ll see it’s not just a one-dimensional reference, with pages and pages of text like a typical hard-copy book.

Instead we’ve made full use of all the multi-media opportunities at our disposal – including web links to online resources like fitness calculators, and video clips that show you precisely how to carry out the drills explained in the workbook.

Who was it who said a picture is worth a thousand words?

This content-rich presentation makes How to Improve Your Vertical Jump a matching pair of top-class electronic resources for coaches and athletes alike.

Order yours today and you’ll find out:

  • How to assess your current level of jump fitness, so you can determine where to start. (You don’t want to set off at too slow or fast a pace.)
  • Which jump training exercises are best for you – and how to carry out each one correctly, using our video-clips and other multi-media content.
  • How to combine together individual jump exercises into a coherent training regime
  • How to channel the gains you make from jump training into enhanced performance in your chosen event(s)
  • Specific steps you can take to avoid the danger of sports injury
  • How long an interval you should leave between jump training and your next competitive event – leave too little time to recover and you could actually damage your chances of sporting success

Take advantage of our special discount to lock in maximum savings

Get your copy of eithe How to Improve Your Vertical Jump TODAY – and you pay just $24.99 (£15.49) for your copy.

Proven techniques : all the advice in How to Improve Your Vertical Jump has been scientifically tested on athletes and sports people and proven to be effective and safe

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