Seeing Michael Jordan or Nate Robinson soaring through the air inspires sports buffs to do the same. No matter what your size or weight is, you can be a successful athlete or sports professional providing you have all the skills and qualities needed.
Of course, having awesome vertical leaps will always be included in the list. This is one of the core elements that can help you win in basketball, football, or other sports that require a high jump. Though, what are the main factors that determine the power of your vertical leap? Know them straight here!
The vertical jump is crucial for many different sports applications. It is a physical power test of conditioning program and strength of athletes as well as an integral skill component for various sports such as volleyball, tennis, Frisbee, badminton, and basketball. The goal is, well, to figure out how high a player can jump.
So, what determines your vertical leap?
According to some people’s perception, the vertical leap is something that is chiefly based on genetics, and not much can be performed to improve it. Yes, genetics really play an important role, and some people are born with amazing vertical jumping capabilities. However, there are others who are able to dunk a basketball or jump higher, mainly through extensive training.
So, what are the main factors that determine the power of your vertical leap? Various factors are involved, including bone structure, tendon length, and muscle fiber composition. These are completely genetic and cannot be improved.
Other factors are:
- Power or building strength – might also the same for the three factors mentioned above. Anyone can get stronger, but you tend to reach your limit at some point. Putting something synthetic into your body is the only way you can do above your limits.
- Muscular strength – refers to the overall level of your strength. Since legs play a primary part in jumping, always make sure to have a good strength so as to boost your vertical leap power.
- Reactive strength or plyometric strength – refers to how fast you can absorb the force going in a sole direction and use more of it going to another direction. Lots of force are directed to the ground when planting the feet to jump. So, this force will be absorbed and applied to go upwards to allow a high jump.
Talking about muscles…
What muscles determine your vertical jump?
Here’s what we know:
Vertically speaking, core denotes to the muscles at your body’s center part. Erector spinae, transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, external obliques, and internal obliques are among these muscles. These help in stabilizing the human spine and transferring the power produced by the glute muscles, quadriceps, calves, and hamstrings up to the musculature of the upper body as a person jump. The core greatly contributes to determining how high a person can jump.
Quadriceps and Calves
Your calves, more precisely the plantar flexors, are stretch once you bend your ankles. These muscles are called soleus and gastrocnemius. After stretching, your ankles should be prolonged in order to thrust off yourself from the ground. You will do the same for your quadriceps after the calves’ contraction. This group of muscle is extended when the knees are being bent and thereby, should contract to lengthen the knees. It is crucial to have and maintain a strong quadriceps since it is one of the biggest muscles you are using in the vertical leap.
Glutes and Hamstrings
Another important muscles that are influences of your vertical jump height, glutes and hamstrings are more specifically the gluteus maximum muscles, semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and biceps femoris. All of these are extended as soon as you bend your knees. Hence, keeping potential energy. These muscles propel the hips forward through hip extension when you’re about to jump up.
Does the height also determine your ability to do the vertical jump?
When it comes to high how a person can jump, being tall is a natural advantage over shorter ones. Mainly because the longer legs serve as a lever. Think of this: turning a screw using a wrench with a long handle is an easy task while turning a screw through a wrench with a shorter handle might be quite tough on your part. You will have to put in more amount of effort. The same situation also applies with longer legs. You can help propel your body upward with more amount of force when doing higher jumps.
How about fitness?
No matter how tall you are but your fitness is low or poor, your ability to jump high will be affected. Right fitness practice and training equal to higher jumps. Experts advise athletes and sports enthusiasts, veterans and non-veterans, to exercise their muscles as possible with an assortment of exercises.
Squats help make the leg muscles stronger and stretches help keep the muscles flexible and limber. You can use a barbell, too. Put it across your shoulders in a gentle manner while your toes and knees are lined up and pointed straight ahead before performing the squat exercise.
Running can help build and strengthen leg muscles as well. Just ensure to run on a treadmill or grass, track field. Do not run on concrete otherwise, your joints will get damaged.
Are your shoes also a contributing factor?
Quite sure, you’ve all heard the numerous claims by many different footwear companies that their shoe brands will make you jump higher, run faster, and play better. However, how much truth is really there in this claim?
As what researchers have found out, footwear definitely has an impact on the vertical jump and even on other factors like agility and speed. The heavier shoes you wear, the lower your performance will be. BUT, this is the catch: wearing strength building or heavier shoes can help build up many of your leg muscles including the hamstrings, calves, and quadriceps. This group of muscles is essential to increase the overall strength of your leg.