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Why Are The Hip Extensors So Important For Jumping?
I've read a lot of information regarding the theories suggesting how vertical jumps may be improved, and your belief that the hip flexors being the significant component to awesome leaps has been well documented by other authors. Could you please however, if capable, explain why the hip flexors are the crucial x-factor to great jumping, not the traditional belief that the legs were.
I believe you are a little confused. The main muscles that contribute to power development are the hip EXTENSORS. The hip flexors would resist the movement of the hip extensors. This is why very tight hip flexors can reduce hip drive in specific lifts or jumping type of movements.
The hip extensors (primarly the glutes and hamstrings) are very large muscles with a high ability to generate great amounts of force. When someone sits back, as is natural when one assumes a jumping position, this stretches the hip extensors. If the movement is performed quickly then the body utilizes stored elastic energy and can create more force than if the movement is done slowly or with a pause. Simply try jumping in both manners and you will the above to be true.
Why these are muscles are important to jumping is like asking why are the biceps important to flexing the elbow? Because of the origin and insertion of the hip extensors they are in perfect line to propel the body up or forward. The calves being a significantly smaller and less powerful muscle group plays a much smaller role in such activities.
Since the hip extensors make up a GREAT part of the legs I would say your above statement is not completely accurate. I think many coaches are under the misunderstanding that the quadriceps and calves are the key players in such roles. If you examine the functional anatomy of the muscles it quickly becomes evident why certain muscles should be prioritized if specific sporting improvements are desired.