Getting A Jump On Landing Safely
At a certain age, your body reaches its maximum height, but for tunately, especially for athletes, there are ways to increase your vertical jump.
“You can do basic exercises, such as squats, deadlifts and traditional strength training exercises to improve your vertical jump,” says certified athletic trainer Daniel Mar Chong of MAR Training. “But you should not just focus on exercises that increase muscular power but also work on stability in the ankles and knees.
Former UH volleyball player Kainoa Mitchell demonstrates single leg squats. ‘The emphasis is on the stability in the knee,' says Daniel Mar Chong. ‘So we're trying to not just work on the single leg strength, but actually the stability in the knee. Once you get really good, you can go without the bench. The bench is just for safety.' NATHALIE WALKER PHOTOS
“Also, like any athlete, you need to be able to work on your core. If you don’t have good core strength, then you’re not going to be able to control your body up in the air. You also need rotational control because, in most sports, you’re never really jumping straight up, you’re kind of jumping and then turning or jumping at an angle.”
In sports performance, Mar Chong adds that for as much as you can accelerate you have to be able to learn how to decelerate, so for as high as you learn to jump you have to be able to land from that jump. “It doesn’t matter if I can teach you to jump 40 inches up in the air, if you don’t have good control in landing you’re going to blow out your knees fairly quickly,” he explains. “Also, anytime you go into plyometric exercises or anything involved with jumping, it helps to have a trained eye to help you with technique and positioning.
If you’re really serious about improving your performance, you should enlist the support of someone who’s trained.”
Mar Chong, who specializes in sports performance and is a former athletic trainer for University of Hawaii, shares a couple of exercises that can improve your jumping ability. For more information, visit martraining.com.