Four Exercises to Increase Vertical Power-Lucas Mayo

Increasing vertical jump height, force production, and reducing ground contact time is important for many sports.

There are several main points of emphasis when coaching vertical power exercises.

First,  we are working to train triple extension of the hips, knees, and ankles driving up through their toes.

Second, creating full extension within shorter periods of time to increase power.

Third, we want athletes to execute movements with great intent and speed. When an athlete executes a countermovement jump, we want to emphasize the ability to snap down quickly and transition back to triple extension quickly as well.

Lastly, we need to reduce ground-contact-time. Emphasizing the athletes ability to pop off of the ground as quickly as possible. The longer the athletes foot stays on the ground the slower their reaction will be.

4 main exercises that increase vertical power:

Resisted Vertical Jumps (VIDEO)

With the use of DBs, bands, or a trap bar we can add resistance through our jump to enable the ability to produce more force in the vertical direction.

The movement starts with a quick eccentric into quick concentric movement completing triple extension at the top of the movement.

The goal is to use lighter weights to be able to still produce a high velocity movement. Resisted jumps also increase the amount of force athletes have to absorb upon landing, which leads to adaptations of being able to absorb more force in gameplay.

Hang Pulls or Trap Bar High Pull/Shrug (VIDEO)

When it comes to power development coaches often look to the Power Clean, but we like to use the hang pull/power shrug variations to further isolate developing vertical power.

Eliminating the catching component can allow for greater intent and less technicality. The movement starts with a quick hip hinge then transitions into triple extension of the knees, hips, and ankles.

During the pull athletes will perform a big shrug followed by the pull of the arms. The goal is to float the bar level with the chin. These exercises produce some of the greatest amounts of power.

Landmine Squat and Press (VIDEO)

Using a landmine attachment with a BB, the athlete will hold the bar in a front rack position, squat down to just above 90 degrees and transition into full extension, while simultaneously pressing the bar and leaning forward at the top.

This movement gets the arms involved in full extension and is similar to a jammer press if you do not have access.

Pogo Jumps (VIDEO)

Pogo Jumps are one of the best exercises to reduce ground contact time and get athletes used to popping into the ground and reproducing that force quickly in the upward direction.

Athletes pop into the ground with the balls of their feet, keeping the legs straight, dorsiflexing the toes while in the air, and plantarflexing quickly when the feet hit.

These jumps can be done with an emphasis on height or quickness off of the ground. When going for height you will use less reps and when going for quickness you can use a greater volume.

Author: Lucas Mayo, MS, CSCS

Lucas Mayo is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Brighton High School for Impact Sports Performance.  Lucas is certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Lucas earned his Master’s degree in Sport Coaching and Leadership with a concentration in Strength and Conditioning.

Using methods based on research and experience, his mission is to aid in the positive mental and physical development of the athlete or individual over the course of their lifespan.

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