In the first article, we discussed the three main points we look for in a box jump: triple extension, hip vertical displacement, and upper and lower body coordination. One questions we base a majority of our training principles around is, “How will this translate onto the playing field?”. When dealing with athletes, we aren’t looking to only improve testing numbers in the gym, but focused more on sport performance, so this article will address how these points improve efficiency of movement that is common in sport.
The picture below is a great visual of how triple extension is used in running. When you teach sprinting technique, the goal is to drive the foot into the ground and extend the trail leg to as close to straight as possible on each stride. No matter what sport you play, this technique should be used during the acceleration phase of a sprint.
You should also notice the movement of the arms. As the leg right leg is fully extended, the right shoulder is flexed. On the left side, the leg and hip are flexed while the shoulder is extended. The movement pattern should be the same in a box jump, more specifically a single leg box jump.
As the NFL draft approaches, the vertical jump testing from the combine and pro days will be a focus as they talk about a player’s explosiveness. Literally millions of dollars ride on an extra inch or two during these evaluations.
As you can see, the ankle, knees, and hips are fully extended. The jump is measured on reach so pulling your knees up will not improve the reach.
The same is true in basketball or volleyball when the athlete attempts to block a shot, or in football when a wide receiver is going up for a catch. The goal is to reach as high as possible, so hip vertical displacement is more beneficial than foot and knee vertical displacement.
Coming out of a three-point stance in football or coming off the block in swimming has the same basic principles; only those movements have a horizontal component as well as vertical.
Improving vertical power also teaches the athlete how to generate power from the ground up. Every basic athletic movement should start with the foot pushing into the ground. If the athlete doesn’t understand how to properly “grip” or push into the ground, they are losing power up the kinetic chain.
As you may notice, golf and baseball were not included. Since that is our niche, check back for next week’s article that will focus primarily on those two sports.