Science is an awesome thing. It allows us to look and evaluate the world from an objective perspective. We all have are preferences whether we are talking about food, training, sports, or haircuts. I am aware that my own personal preferences often bias my decision making, especially when writing programs. But because I am aware of this bias I feel it is important to consume as much unbiased information as I can to help guide my thought process to a more objective place. I know someone believe that the idea of something being unbiased is impossible, but I try to not be to cynical and I often do my own background research on authors and researchers involved which helps me get a feel for if these individuals are working an angle.
To get back on topic I wanted to share in this blog post a great review that was recently published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal regarding training for vertical jump performance.
I know most of us aren't going to be tested on our vertical jump on a regular basis, but who doesn't want to be able to dunk a basketball once in their life?
I found the review well-written, informative, and comprehensive. It has helped me better evaluate how I incorporate various jump training into my programs whether they be directed for developing the quality of power or vertical jump performance.
The reviewers begin by noting that vertical jumping is an important aspect of performance in any given sport. Jumps occurring in sporting events take place in a variety of situations including one step approaches and following a landing. The reviewers believe that these various situations in sports can be directly correlated to specific jump training methods. The reviewers include squat jumps, countermovement jumps, approach jumps, and depth or drop jumps as specific jump training methods.
Squat jumps, the researchers defined, are jumps that are performed from a static starting position in a squat of pre-determined depth. These jumps do not involve the SS cycle and help to improve one's rate of force development.
Countermovement jumps begin with a movement in the opposite direction of the intended jumping direction. These jumps do involve the SS cycle by allowing eccentric motion at the hip and knee extenders as well as the plantar flexors in the ankle followed immediately by the contraction of all these muscles.
One-step approach jumps are most common in sports, specifically basketball and volleyball. The reviewers suggest that it is possible these jumps involve even greater storage of elastic energy in the SS cycle because of the leg muscles pre-activity prior to the jump.
Depth jumps are performed by stepping off a raised platform and then upon landing jumping back up. This jump is thought to lead to greater storage of elastic energy and generating large amounts of force in small period of time. Reviewers note that research shows that minimizing ground contact is key to increasing power outputs, takeoff speed, and work done.
The reviewers concluded their paper by saying that each type of jump training correlates strongly to various sporting movements. They believe that each modality holds it's own benefits and results in specific adaptations that can assist in certain sports.