Dr. Natalia Verkhoshansky gives us a look into one of her presentations at The 2013 Seminar “Progressing The Jumping Exercises”.

The aim of this presentation is to introduce Strength & Conditioning coaches to the methodology of applying jumping exercises.

In most sports, jumping exercises are essential elements of special physical preparation because they increase the mechanical efficiency of landing-take-off (Stretch-Shortening Cycle) movements, which are key-elements in most competition exercises.  Jumping exercises improve both sprinting and jumping abilities, which are very important in team sports. However, Strength & Conditioning coaches who usually work with team sport athletes often are not familiar with the methodology of applying these exercises.  This may be due to the fact that, although the exercises were well elaborated, it was mainly for track & field jumpers and sprinters.  This unfamiliarity brings on certain issues. Inappropriately sequenced jumping exercises may cause leg injuries if the athlete has never used this kind of exercise before.  Jumping exercises, therefore, need to be prepared for in advance.

How should this preliminary preparation be accomplished?

Sport training literature usually suggests that to be ready for jump training it is necessary only to enforce the leg’s muscles and improve the flexibility of the athlete. If this were enough, how could we explain that, very often, athletes with very high levels of strength obtained by weight training have difficulty in executing jump exercises?  The problem is that the “jumping skill” depends not only on the strength of the legs but also on the individual’s coordination to efficiently apply the strength during execution. Improving jumping ability requires not only physical preparation, but also technical preparation by applying appropriate methods of motor teaching.

What are these methods and how do we better apply them in the jump training?

The second problem that arises in applying jumping exercises is related to their variety, which makes it difficult to find the appropriate selection for a given athlete.  Among jump exercises many types could be individualized, and can be used for different specific purpose (increasing Explosive Strength, Reactive Ability, Local Muscular Endurance etc.).  The exercises can be calibrated in relation to the level of intensity of their training stimuli.  According to this criterion, jump exercises may be placed in a hierarchical sequence with the following progression when applied to the training process:

1. Jumps without weights (standing jumps and bounds)

2. Jumps with weights (consecutive Barbell Jumps, Kettlebell Squat Jumps and Vertical Jumps with Barbell)

3. Depth jump

How do you apply this progression in the training of a given athlete? How does a coach know that the athlete is ready to progress with either intensity of the load, or intensity of the means selected?

To answer these questions, the following issues should be examined:

1. Fitness and skill components of training process and their compatibility.

2. Basic methodological approach for increasing the motor potential and for improving the ability to apply the motor potential in specific exercise.

3. Jumping skill: what it is and how it may be improved.

4. The general scheme of the jump exercise progression in the training process.

5. First step of the jump exercises progression: Short- and Long-coupling time jumping exercises and “ankling” runs.

6. Progressing the methods of jump training: from Extensive to Intensive.

7. Second step of the jump exercises progression: jumps with weights.

8. Consecutive Barbell jumps and Kettlebell Squat jumps: the differences between them.

9. Vertical Jumps with barbell (Countermovement Barbell Jump) and Consecutive Barbell Jumps: the differences between them.

10.  How to evaluate the jumping ability improvement at every step of jump exercise’s progression?

11.  Should Drop Landings be used as preliminary exercise for Depth Jumps?

12.  Three main principles for successful coaching of jump training.

To better outline the practical aspects in the presentation I will be showing sample workouts for every step of the jump exercise progression and video clips of the exercise’s execution with athletes of different jump training experience.

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