SPEED!

 

There are a couple of things we need to know about speed. First and foremost nothing gets you better at speed besides speed. You can get as strong as you want but unless you train the appropriate movements for speed you will not get the results you want. This is a pretty general rule and can be applied to most everything, if you work on strength you get stronger, speed = speed, endurance = endurance, etc. BUT this is no less important. So, when you are doing a movement that is based in speed by nature, ie vertical jump, broad jump, sprint, hang clean, hang snatch, do them with the intent of speed. How fast the bar or your body actually moves is irrelevant, the intent for speed is what matters for improvement.

 

Now I’m sure some of you have already figured out the first bit of this for yourself. Here’s the next pro tip for you to increase your vertical jump. Where does the jump start? The start of the jump begins with the figure all the way to the right.

verticaljump.jpg

Let me explain. What I see quite often is people lowering themselves into position and then exploding out from the body with a great deal of force. What should happen instead is an explosive downward motion to the squat position as well as an explosive upward motion out of the squat. This will incorporate a mechanism called the Stretch Shortening Cycle (SSC). Explained quickly, the SSC is a process in which your muscles are most like rubber bands. The faster they get stretched the faster they contract. People who use this to their advantage can achieve huge leaps! Here a couple of videos to show you how fast the down motion should be. The first is Byron Jones who currently holds the world record in the Broad Jump and has one of the best verticals in the NFL and the second is a video of an Australian guy jumping the Guinness Book of World Record Height for Box Jumps. Note their very different body types.