The vertical and broad jumps are highlights at the NFL combine year in and year out and are even used in smaller amateur combines. Sure they aren’t overhyped like the 40 yard dash but let me explain to you why they are often more IMPORTANT than that 40 time. The reason is simple.
– The vertical and broad jumps measure an athletes hip and lower body explosiveness, which is key in sports like football for the quickest, most powerful quality movements. Quick bursts of speed through the hole, the extra grit it takes for a runner to make his own hole on the goal line, crushing road grader run blocks, and the power to take on those blocks, all come from lower body explosion and the ability of the athlete to extend his hips.
– There is almost always a correlation between speed and the broad jump or vertical leap. Why? Simple. Sports performance is dependent on two things from a strength standpoint.
A) how much can ya bring? (as in how much strength)
B) how fast can ya bring it! (how fast can you exert that force, explosively)
The point “B” makes is the key. There are plenty of guys that can squat hundreds of pounds, or win a bench contest, but those lifts after they get so heavy, take forever to exert the force! The name of the game in sports is how fast can you bring it. Take this into account when training for sports that require this kind of movement (which would be most sports)!
Explosion = strength + fast twitch muscles
With that in mind, do the following to increase your vertical and broad jumps.
1. Develop a great BOS (base of strength). Accomplish this by strengthening your lower body, and adding resistance to strength training movements. Doing heavy squats and other lower body movements with added resistance (in a safe and practical manner of course) will do wonders for your lower body strength.
2. Add explosion! As I said previously, in sports it’s all about “how fast can you bring it!”. Train this factor by adding explosive movements to your training. Doing nothing but strength training during the off season won’t do a single thing for your ability to MOVE, which is the key. So add jumps! Add bounds. Quick explosive jumps and bounds are plyometrics. You can further add to the effectiveness of jumps and bounds by adding resistance to these movements as well. Think ankle weights or resistance bands/cords.