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Jump Training Blog
Single Leg Exercises – Why They’re Important
When most people jump, they have a dominant leg. When you do two legged exercises, the dominant leg will do most of the work, leaving the weaker leg to miss out on developing as much. Single leg exercises isolate the weaker leg. As the weaker leg catches up to the dominant leg in performance, the result is a nice benefit to your vertical jump. You will find single leg exercises in the vert builder and vert builder pro programs on our site. Check them out.
14 year old Breana gained 15 inches in 6 weeks – watch her demo a key exercise
Most jump training programs add about an inch a week. With this exercise, on this device, you can exceed that…by a significant amount! Also, follow the rules I share in another blog on how to train successfully. Watch both videos!
Pistol Squat on Bosu Ball Holding Weight
Single Leg Butt Kicker
Muscle Confusion on a Massive Scale
Hydro training is the best training medium for muscle confusion. Some folks believe changing an exercise a little bit is enough to break through the training plateau.
To prevent a training plateau, one must confuse the body. More muscle confusion, for a week, is going to stimulate the body to adapt to the new environment.
When one moves through the water, the body—the entire body—is meeting resistance plus trying to balance. This is true and effective muscle confusion. When you return to the weight room after a week of training in water, your body will have to adapt yet again (on a smaller scale, but adapt it must). Once back in the weight room after a week of hydro, your body will start developing fresh.
Many teams train during their season, as well as in the off-season. If they are not doing hydro training during the season, then their weight room training results will hit a plateau. As a coach or an athlete, do you want to keep developing and improving at the end of the season too? Winning at the end of the season is critical if you are hoping to qualify for playoffs, or you want to advance into the playoffs, or perhaps you want to achieve a .500 season during a rebuilding year instead of losing all of your games.
Hydro can help your athletes develop faster and longer than ever.
Try it! Let me know how it goes. I want to hear your stories.
If you do not have a hydro program, try mine. I have a basic hydro program you can get started with for free.
See below for a sample hydro workout:
Warmup – Zig-Zags: Start at one end of the pool and push off the outside part of one foot explosively moving upward, forward and slightly to the side. Land, and push off the outside part of the foot you landed on the same way. Continue this until reaching the other end of the pool. Ideally, you will be able to do this the entire length of the swimming pool, typically 25 yards. Complete 100 yards of this warmup.
Single Leg Shallow Water Explosions: In hip deep water, balance on 1 foot. Crouch down, then explode upward. Continue this until you “taper”. Taper being when you feel a rep isn’t as explosive as the previous rep. Rest 30 seconds and do the same exercise on the other leg. Remember the rep count in each leg. Do subsequent sets until the number of explosive reps before tapering is about half that of the first set. That is the final set for both legs. As your anaerobic endurance builds, the number of sets you are able to complete will increase dramatically. As this number changes, it also is an indication that your body is changing and, that you are jumping higher than you used to.
Single Leg Butt Kickers: Same as on land, with the vital part of this exercise being that your heel contact your butt each repetition. Work to taper (see previous exercise explaining the taper concept). Do this for each leg. When you jump with 2 legs, one leg is dominant and one non-dominant. Single leg exercises isolate and develop the weaker leg rapidly.
Double Leg Shallow Water Explosions: Same as Single Leg Shallow water explosions, except use both legs to jump. This too is to taper.
Kangaroo Race: x6 lengths of the pool. You will bound upward and forward. Rest 1 minute between each set. This is a sprint!
One Legged Kangaroos: Same as the kangaroo race except you explosively jump up and forward off of 1 leg. Do 1 leg for 25 yards, then the other leg the next 25 yards. Do 6 lengths of the pool total.
Deep Water Single Leg Explosions: In shoulder deep water, explode upward off of 1 leg. Train to taper. This exercise has a lot more water resistance so you probably will not be able to do as many reps.
Deep Water Double Leg Explosions: Same as single leg, but jump from both legs.
Inches per Week
One of the most common questions folks have before deciding to jump train is, “how many inches a week will I gain?”
The first time I heard this asked, I had starting jump heights and measurements from the athlete’s final training session to respond. The answer at the time was, 1 inch a week. This seems pretty standard among jump trainers.
Well, one summer I noticed a sudden change in the rate of gains to over 2 inches a week. After examining what was different about that summer’s training and concluded 2 possibilities:
- The training facility I was using was the best ever. So, equipment matters a lot, and,
- Some new exercises I was using were helping a lot.
The answer was, both! A nicer training facility opens up more options for training, allowing a jump trainer to deploy additional exercises.
One of the new exercises I tried associated with the massive increase in jump height gains.
So, when you jump train, try to find the best equipped facility possible. An extra half inch or inch per week adds up in a hurry.
The Four Rules of Jump Training
These rules are time tested and, if followed, will ensure your athletes train successfully.
Rule #1: If you are injured, at all, do not jump train. You are wasting your time. If you are injured, then you cannot bring to bear all of your physicality into the workouts. This means you will not see good results.
Rule #2: Attend each and every training session. Each training session targets a muscle group or in some way benefits your development. Miss a workout and you miss out on the potential benefits. Your results will tell the tale, they always do.
Rule #3: Use proper technique for each exercise. Using proper technique adds immense value to your gains. Assuming you want to achieve rapid gains to your vertical jump height, the faster you adopt good form, the faster you will see eye-popping gains.
Rule #4: Give each and every repetition of an exercise your absolute best effort. Sometimes athletes are half-hearted about training hard. They want the gains but are not willing to put in the work. Jump training has no short cuts. You have to work hard to succeed. If you do, you will see great gains. One way of ensuring you give each rep your best effort over time is to write down how much weight you use for an exercise, the number of sets, etc.. Week to week, if this number improves, that is an indication you are pushing yourself. When I see athlete’s not improving, then their jump results will tell the same story. When I have seen someone’s vertical jump height flat line, then they are not following the 4 rules of jump training, period. Writing down set counts, rep counts, weight amounts can also give you an early warning to spot a lack of effort, poor form, injury, poor attendance or a combination of these. If you want rapid gains, then follow the 4 rules.
Why Jump Train?
If you are an athlete or a coach, you may have heard about jump training. So, why should a coach undertake a jump program, or an athlete train this way? You may already have a great training program and a super trainer for strength, quickness, speed, agility or perhaps you spend your time ramping up your sport specific skills instead?
Perhaps it will help to hear when jump training is not a good idea. If you are a distance runner, distance swimmer, or participate in a sport demanding mostly aerobic fitness, then jump training will do more harm than good. For example, I had a girl jump train with me who was new to volleyball and, she was physically established as a cross-country runner. Her starting vertical jump height was only 7 inches. She also had finished 2nd in state for cross country the season prior. Well, after training with me for 8 weeks she underwent a transformation. She had a 22 inch vertical jump, a phenomenal achievement. However, not long after finishing jump training she competed at state again. She finished 44th, a major drop in her aerobic performance from the previous season.
Anaerobic sports are short bursts and intense physical activity. Aerobic sports are long duration activities characterized with less “burst” of frenetic activity and, the opposite of anaerobic sports. Some sports require both types of fitness, some are extremes of each, but never extremes of both. So, if you are training for cross country, do not jump train. However, if you participate in an anaerobic sport, jump training is an excellent form of training.
So, back to the ‘Why Jump Train’ question. If you are a coach, the next question is, are you getting everything you can, physically, from your athletes? If you are an athlete who trains independently, the question is, how far below your full potential are you playing? If you want a higher vertical, lower injury risk, and play an anaerobic sport, then jump training can help you achieve more, surprisingly more, than you might expect.
The first head coaching job I took the question of getting more from my athletes drove me to try jump training. We went all in and jump training paid off big time as our team went on to become the top blocking team in the state. Physically, the team was transformed. However, I learned some helpful rules along the way that will determine getting results or getting nothing. On average, since jump training the past 9 years I have seen athletes jump heights increase a little over an inch a week. This seems pretty standard among jump programs.
So hopefully you are equipped to decide if and when jump training is for you.
The Need to Read – The Mirror Drill
Reading an opponent’s intentions is learned. For example, in volleyball, a back row defender able to read a hitter’s intentions has a greater opportunity to dig the ball. In basketball, reading a ball handler better allows the defender to shut down where they want to go.
Here is an exercise that will condition an athlete’s speed plus improve reading skill.
Partner up, face one another and adopt a low defensive crouch. For example, if you are a defensive back in football, the same position you would take going close man to man on a wide receiver. In volleyball, a low digging position would suffice.
Next, designate one person as the leader and the other as the follower, or reader. The person in the lead leaps with both feet in any direction and lands in the same low crouch position. The follower must immediately leap as though the leader is looking in a mirror. So, if the leader jumps backward, the follower jumps backward. If the leader jumps forward (toward the follower), the follower also jumps forward (toward the leader). It is critical that the follower attempt to anticipate where the leader is going and react as fast as possible.
The leader may adopt a fast tempo, jumping quickly in random directions while the followers attempts to match them, just like they are a mirror images.
When the follower makes an error, wrong direction, then they switch roles. The follower becomes the leader and vice versa. Continue back and forth for 3-5 minutes. Rest one minute and resume until 15 minutes total elapse.
Advanced Mirror Drill
Do the Mirror drill wearing Jump Soles.