Most sports have a critical characteristic in common – Speed kills! You can be exceptionally mobile and forceful, but if you are slow it won’t matter.
The faster, more explosive athlete just about always wins.
One of the best ways to develop speed and explosive strength in the squat, deadlift and Olympic lifts is jump training. You just have to do it the right way.
Common jumping mistakes
It’s fine to do some high-rep jumps as part of your WOD, as long as you take care when you land, every single rep. Injuries happen, folks. The sloppier the repetitions, the higher the risk.
The other downside to only doing high-reps is that they will not make you any faster. There’s just too much fatigue and slowing down to make that happen. If you want to be an explosive athlete, train your jumps with that specific intent – Move as fast as possible!
A final mistake I see a lot of fitness athletes make all the time is they try to jump on the highest box possible. This is dumb. It doesn’t help you jump any better. If anything, this is more of hip mobility test than a method for developing power.
How to program jumps in your training
There are some easy jumping movements that will make a big difference in your ability to generate power and be explosive.
The two jumping movements that have always worked best for me are single-leg low box jumps and seated box jumps. Other styles of jumping can work great as well, but I like these varieties because they are easy and have the lowest risk of injury.
Single Leg Jumps:
Use a low box, about 4 to 12 inches is great. Place one foot on the box, pick it up, slam it down, and keep pushing through to lift yourself up in the air. This action is very similar to the front of a heavy throw in track and field or the highland games, where you explode upwards while finishing the throw.
This movement does not begin with the jumping leg extended. Instead, you start with a bend (which is why a low box is used). Keep the down leg relatively straight while you drive as hard and quickly with the up leg.
Seated Box Jumps:
Box jumps are a great way to develop explosive power.
This is a simple movement, but I do it a bit differently than most. I start while sitting on a low box (below parallel), about 2-3 feet back from a second, higher box. While sitting, I rock back a bit and then try to slam my heels into the ground, propelling myself upwards.
Remember what I said about those high boxes? It applies here. If you want to make your jumps harder, don’t go higher. Jumping onto a higher box doesn’t mean you are jumping better. As you get faster and more skilled with your jump training, scale the difficulty by wearing a weight vest. You could hold onto light weights for this as well, but it’s much harder to remain in control.
How to program your jump training
I like to jump twice a week, usually after my lower body training and Olympic lifting is complete. While you can do many combinations of sets and reps, I just do 5 sets of 5 reps. This allows me to accumulate a good amount of work across the sets without getting fatigued and losing that critical speed
That’s also the very same reason that 5*5 works so well in strength programs – You can get tons of heavy work done without crushing yourself.
Check out Matt’s book for more great training advice.
A few more tips:
- Do not fire off those reps in rapid succession. Instead, focus on the movement and what you are wanting to accomplish with it.
- Take about 1 minute of rest between sets. This will ensure that you are producing maximum power during each jump.
- Land in an athletic, balanced position with the knees slightly bent and over the feet. This will cut your risk of blowing something out when you land. It also leads to a better training effect (that’s the same position you should pull from, after all).
- Jumping for speed can be considered an accessory movement. Do it in addition to your strength work, and before your conditioning WODs.
There is a reason that top athletes can also jump high. Sure, they are naturally talented, but they also work incredibly hard to develop those explosive qualities with plenty of speed training.
If you add these simple jumping movements to your weekly program you will increase your maximum strength and overall performance, I guarantee it.
- For more from Matt, make sure to check out MattVincent.net. You can also check out Matt’s new video series, the Drifta Lifta, HERE. It’s excellent.
- You can also follow him on Instagram and YouTube for awesome training tips and videos.
[…] http://daily.barbellshrugged.com/crush-wods-jump-fast/ […]
This has come at the perfect time. I’ve never known where to program jumps – I kinda assumed that they needed to be towards the front of a workout due their explosive nature – but then they affect everything following. Now I have no excuses left and I will be jumping from now on.