5 Keys To A Higher Vertical: #3 Improve Power

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). For this post we are going to talk about improving POWER

Power is a universal key in athletics. I've been talking about it since the beginning of this series. As He-Man once said, "I HAVE THE POWER." And that guy had some serious muscle. I'm sure that you agree power should be improved, but I have to take you down this rabbit hole - I'm sorry.

Physics tell us that Power (in watts) can be calculated using jump height. For example

Peak Power (watts) = (61.9 * Jump Height (cm)) + (36 * body mass (kg)) + 1822

Wasn't that fun? Seeing this we can inversely prove that power is a key component of jump height. If power is increased we are going to either see an increase in A) body mass or B) jump height. I like to train for the latter in most cases.

One of the best ways I've been able to improve power is through Olympic lifting. A lot of coaches try and teach their athletes how to Olympic lift. I want to give them kudos for that, however, I get a plethora of athletes who have been doing these lifts their entire highschool career HORRIBLY wrong.

An Olympic lift is something like a clean, a snatch, or a jerk. There are many variations of each, and all of them have tremendous benefits to improving power. It requires the athlete to generate enough force to lift a load while simultaneously generating power and velocity to hoist the weight up. Olympic lifting encourages an athlete to perform a triple extension (hips, knees, and ankles all in full extension) - just like in a max effort jump. By moving the barbell technically into triple extension the athlete trains the body to be more explosive. 

What I have to do is routinely train my athletes to learn how to use their hips, knees, and ankles to move the bar while also teaching safe technique and rack positions. One of my favorite stories (that I continually hear from multiple athletes at multiple schools) is how a coach sees them catch a powerclean with a proper front rack position. Bar on shoulders, elbows in and up, hands only for guidance. Their coach, unknowingly, got onto them and "retaught" them to hold it off of their shoulders in their hand. That is how you break your forearm and it decreases the amount of weight you can lift.

Needless to say a good coach is needed when it comes to this phase for sure.

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

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

The Accute Effects Of Different Squat Intensities on Vertical Jump Performances
The Accute Effects of Different Squat Intensities On Jump 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.