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Friday, February 10, 2012

How To Improve Jump

Jumping is really a natural thing for anyone but there will always be those who can jump higher than the others. Height is one factor but some shorter individuals can jump higher than other taller individuals. In many cases, such individuals have found ways to increase jump height. Indeed, there are specific exercises one can do to increase the vertical jump. These exercises target the muscles needed for jumping and tone them to maximize the jumping power—this can be particularly important to basketball players and other athletes.

Plyometrics tend to be the most effective exercises for improving jumping abilities. Plyometrics is a type of exercise training designed to produce fast, powerful movements, and improve the functions of the nervous system, generally for the purpose of improving performance in sports. Plyometric movements, in which a muscle is loaded and then contracted in rapid sequence, use the strength and elasticity of muscle and surrounding tissues to jump higher, run faster, throw farther, or hit harder, depending on the desired training goal. Plyometrics is used to increase the speed or force of muscular contractions, providing explosiveness for a variety of sport-specific activities. Plyometrics has been shown across the literature to be beneficial to a variety of athletes. Benefits range from injury prevention, power development and sprint performance amongst others.

Plyometric training involves and uses practicing plyometric movements to toughen tissues and train nerve cells to stimulate a specific pattern of muscle contraction so the muscle generates as strong a contraction as possible in the shortest amount of time. A plyometric contraction involves first a rapid muscle lengthening movement (eccentric phase), followed by a short resting phase (amortization phase), then an explosive muscle shortening movement (concentric phase), which enables muscles to work together in doing the particular motion. Plyometric training engages the myotatic reflex, which is the automatic contraction of muscles when their stretch sensory receptors are stimulated.

Muscular power and muscular strength are two different things. Muscular strength refers to how much force can be applied. Strength alone is not indicative of speed. Although muscle strength is correlated to sprint performance, research has shown that combining both resistance training and plyometric training will have better effects on training. While plyometrics assists in rapid force development (power), weight training assists in maximal force output (strength). Power refers to the combined factors of speed and strength.

Performance in many sports is based on different types of power. One activity that requires speed-favored power is high jumping: ultimately, jump height is determined by how fast one is moving once one's legs have left the ground. Good jumpers may not have exceptional leg strength, but they can produce it at exceptional speeds.

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