5 Keys To A Higher Vertical: #5 Plyometrics & Ballistics

Nearly every athlete that comes to our facility wants to improve their vertical jump. Although not every sport is as jump specific as basketball or volleyball, having a higher vertical is proof of more power. And more power always translates to an advantage in sport. All colleges and professional leagues look at the vertical jump when they seriously scout a player. There is a reason that I am able to increase our athletes vertical jump by an average of 2 inches in just 4 weeks. I have a long term strategy, a knowledge of exercise and weight selection, and a set of key principles that all aid in improving jump abilities. So, for the next few posts I will give away 5 key principals that I use in training to improve the vertical jump of my athletes. The first key was MECHANICS (click here for link), the second was IMPROVING STRENGTH (click here for this link), the third was IMPROVING POWER (click here for this link), the fourth was IMPROVING VELOCITY (click here for this link). For the final post in this series I will talk about MULTI-PHASE PLYOMETRICS and BALLISTIC MOVEMENTS.

When most people think about ballistics their mind drifts to thoughts of ammunition and bullet casings. When I hear ballistic I think of an athlete flying through the air with everything they've got. And that is the definition that we are going lean towards for today's lesson.

Ballistic jumping movements are those which are max effort. When I see a lot of coaches or instagrammers performing jumping exercises, 9 times out of 10 they are submax, high-repetition, conditioning based jumps. These do not encourage the muscles to make you jump higher. In fact, by training a jump at a low speed for high-quantity fatiguing reps you are detraining the muscles and making them produce slower movements. If you train slow, you will move slow. Pretty basic.

In my last post I talked about the different adaptations of the nerves when it comes to different styles of training. You may not know this, but our nerves don't need us to tell them to activate our muscles. We have a peripheral feedback that allows our nervous system to make us better. Think of when you touch something hot - your hand darts away without you even thinking about it (Peripheral Nervous System). Within this system is the Stretch Shortening Cycle (SSC). When an aggressive stretch is applied to the muscles the nerves will automatically increase the power output for the contraction. It is a natural process that many people do. Watch when someone is about to run. In most instances they will take a very small step backwards before taking off. That is using the SSC.

We train this system by performing multi-phase plyometrics. This is when an athlete will perform a jump or movement which is automatically followed by an even greater jump or movement. This would be like doing a jump to a depth jump, or a kneeling jump to a broad jump. There are many ways to apply this training, but at the same time, there are many ways to do it wrong.

In my opinion this is one of the most complicated ways to improve the vertical jump because it can be done wrong so easily. Unfortunately it is one of the best ways to improve jump performance. Everything that I have talked about in the past 4 posts boils down to how well an athlete can transfer those improvements to this portion of training.

Throughout our different cycles I will rotate different exercises, sets, reps, and intensities which allow my athletes to continue getting better 6 months down the road. This helps us continue to produce better athletes. And now you know 5 of my key principles that allow me to do this.

God Bless and I hope to see you in here soon!

- Coach Drew
Endunamoo Strength & Conditioning
1628 Harrison Street
Wichita Falls, Tx 76309

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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

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.