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Jumps

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Strength is a slightly misleading word here as there is not much need for being able to lift a huge weight slowly, it is all about the powerful movements at speed, requiring large elastic strength - the ability to contract muscles at speed.

This kind of strength is developed in two ways - firstly in the gym and secondly by the performance of plyometric exercises.

As stated in the speed section the profile for a high jumper differs from other jumpers as the amount of speed required isn't as high. All jumpers need to develop their explosive power, high jumpers more so than others.

In the gym a range of exercises are important. Early in the training period sets of between 6 and 12 reps are used to build strength and muscle mass. Once this strength has been worked on the key is to turn this into power.

The number of reps will vary according to the exercise, but generally, you'll try to do a mixture of high weight low rep activity where your pure strength is improved and, more importantly, lower weight fast reps for developing power.

This might be 3 x 6 at just 40% of 1 lift maximum for bench press, whilst for the key leg exercises of power cleans, snatch and squats you might do 3 x 3 at 80% as these involve faster movements anyway.

The other key element to the improvement of power is plyometric training. A whole range of exercises are useful ranging in intensity from simple bounding and hopping to depth jumps.

The key is to build up these exercises slowly and allow a good recovery between sessions, so that your body acclimatises to the work.

Beginners will find bounding, low hurdle jumps, and bunny hops useful, whilst more advanced athletes can try depth jumps, higher hurdles and hopping.

There are details of how do perform these drills here

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