Month: January 2011

Improving Vertical Jump!

How Can You Improve Vertical Jump?

Vertical jump is a measure of total body power.  For those in the performance industry it is the physical test that correlates most significantly with an athlete’s actual on court/field performance.

Give me an athlete that has a good vertical jump, and most likely that athlete will have a quick first step, a strong core, and good linear speed.  In our True Athlete Rating (see definition of TrueAP Rating Below), vertical jump is the most prominent of the four tests we conduct.

Of course we know vertical jump is an essential component of such sports as football, basketball and volleyball where jumping plays an integral part in every play or point.  I think few would argue this, but at True Athlete Performance, we feel it is a key component of EVERY court and field sport we train.

Although athletes in baseball, softball, lacrosse, field hockey, and hockey seldom need to jump vertically during competition, training these athletes to improve their vertical jump will improve their overall body power and explosiveness.

To improve your vertical you will need to focus on these 3 key components:

1.       Land Correctly: By concentrating on the landing we emphasize the muscles that help to decelerate in any jump (Glutes and Hamstrings).  This will not only help to ensure injury prevention, but will also help to emphasize deceleration before an explosive movement upon landing.

2.       Use your Arms: The arms can I be as much as 25% of the vertical jump.  With the emphasis on a quick back movement of the arms (as the hip drops before exploding up) and then an explosive up movement (to help propel the body up), we will improve each vertical jump.  NOTE: Watch a collegiate or pro volleyball match.  Watch their hitting approach jump.  These athletes utilize their arms the best of any other athlete.

3.       Strong Core: If an athlete maintains a strong core, they will be able to focus on the muscles to explode the body up.  As an athlete prepares to jump, they need to keep their head up, chest up and keep a strong core.  This will ensure an efficient, explosive jump each time.

If an athlete can focus on these three key components, they will learn to have a very powerful vertical jump.

If you want some other ideas or techniques to increase vertical jump, email me at rrose@trueap.com.

HAVE A QUESTION FOR ROB ROSE, PRESIDENT OF TRUEAP?

  1. Write it down below this
  2. Email it to rrose@trueap.com.

Don’t forget to look for my video blog on this topic.  I will go through some great exercise techniques and exercises for you to try.

Thanks,

Rob Rose

How to Improve Strength Quick!

What is the Most Efficient way to improve strength for sport?

Strength is defined as, “The maximal force that a muscle or muscle group can generate at a specified velocity.”  Or in more layman terms for all of us; “how much weight you can lift, at any speed.”

I have been training athletes of all levels since my years at George Mason University (1990 – 1995).  Yes, I was on the 5 year plan!

What I learned was this:

In order to increase the strength in any muscle we must tear muscle fibers (micro-tears).  Every time we tear the muscle fiber, the muscle heals.  When it heals, it increases both size and strength.  This is mainly where our muscle soreness comes from.  So being sore, is not such a bad thing.

So, in all my years since graduating GMU, I have been teaching, no… rather preaching the same thing:

SLOW IT DOWN!

The slower you perform each repetition:

  1. The more tension you put on each muscle
  2. The more muscle fibers you recruit.
  3. The more muscle fibers you tear(micro-tear)

Hence, the more size and strength you gain.

There are two main movements when lifting.

  1. Positive (concentric)
  2. Negative (eccentric)

Using the bench press as an example:

Pushing the bar up and away from the chest is the positive movement, while lowering the bar towards the chest is the negative movement.

**The negative movement is 40% stronger than the positive of any lift.**

What does this mean?

 If your max bench press in the positive movement is 100lbs, then you could support up to 140lbs during the negative movement. 

If you have ever failed while attempting a 1-rep maximum bench press, you have experienced this effect.  You were able to control the weight on the way down, but then failed to lift the bar back up.

Why is this important?

If we were to challenge (or you could say “max out”) the negative movement of a lift, up to 40% more tension could be applied to the muscles.  This increased tension causes more muscle fibers to be recruited, giving us an increased potential to increase strength and even size.

The negative movement is mostly forgotten in lifting.  Most athletes will explode up on the positive and let it fall down even quicker on the negative.  To optimize increases in strength, we need to do the opposite!

Suggestion:

  1. For every lift you perform, lighten the weight by about 25% of what you are currently doing.
  2. For every lift, increase the amount of time per repetition, but do the same number of repetitions per set that you would normally perform.  When focusing on strength, I suggest giving yourself a rep range of 2-6 repetitions.  If you cannot complete 2 reps with correct form and speed, then decrease the weight.  If you can complete more than 6 reps with correct form and speed, then increase the weight.
  3. Each repetition will be a total of 7 – 10 seconds, no matter how many reps.
  4. The positive or first movement is 3 – 4 seconds.
  5. The negative or second movement is 4 – 5 seconds. THIS IS THE BIG ONE.

Do this for 3 straight weeks with every lift, every set.  I promise at the end of this you will be stronger and on your way to being bigger. 

If you want some other ideas or techniques to increase strength, email me at rrose@trueap.com.

HAVE A QUESTION FOR ROB ROSE, PRESIDENT OF TRUEAP?

  1. Write it down below this
  2. Email it to rrose@trueap.com.

Don’t forget to look for my video blog on this topic.  I will go through some great exercise techniques and exercises for you to try.

Thanks,

Rob Rose