1/25/13

The Box To Increase Your Vertical Jump


To the unknowing, a Crossfit box refers to a gym. The box I am referring to is not a Crossfit one. The mainstream Crossfit gym will make you perform hundreds of jumps until exhaustion. After all, in a sporting event you don’t just jump once, you jump a lot. “Common” sense tells us that this will increase our vertical, right?



I have a friend that plays a sport that requires some vertical aptitude. His sport can also be considered an endurance sport. Everything from basketball to rugby now falls in this category. His training for increasing vertical is doing box jumps to exhaustion at the end of his workout. If this is something you do, imagine my head shaking in confusion.
It does seem to make sense though. If I jump high a bunch of times, then during a game when I’m tired I will be able to still jump high. That would be cool, but that’s not how it works.

Science:

The muscle fibers used in explosive movements are fast twitch. That means that they generate more power in a shorter amount of time. They have little endurance, and run mainly on creatine. You cannot [according to current research] train these muscles to work as hard longer. You can train these muscles to be more powerful, and therefore require less ATP per explosion though. This is where your non crossfit box, box jump comes in.

3 Important Factors In Increasing Your Vertical

  1. Most important to increasing your vertical is time of exercise. Box jumps or any other ballistic, “uncontrolled” explosive exercise that does not require a slowing down phase, will be most powerful when fresh.
  2. Second most important is never go ballistic to exhaustion. As soon as the muscle fiber fatigues, cannot produce ATP at the rate it uses, explosiveness goes out the window.
  3. Thirdly is that the height of your box should be almost maximal. In other words the box should be as tall as you can jump on. Each explosive drive should take everything you have.

If you’re unconvinced look at the situation like this: A peak explosive muscle cannot have its endurance increased. By increasing the max amount of force that can be produced per second, less force is needed to reach certain heights. Therefore, training a peak explosive muscle to jump higher will use less energy in a game, and reduce fatigue in jumping situations. You jump higher for longer. It’s a win, win. You don’t kill yourself doing box jumps in a workout, and in the long run you can jump HIGHER!

Here is an example for a basic exercise scheme for increasing your vertical: [you don’t have to follow this as gospel, but it explains where Box jumps should be placed in your workout.]
Box jumps [max height] – 4x5
Squat [75-80% 1RM] – 3x5
Accessory exercise A
Accessory exercise B
Weighted abs [heavy dbell] – 3x8

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About Me

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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance


The Effects of Glucose Supplementation on Barbell Velocity and Fatiguability in Weightlifting - A pilot study"

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.