Tip #1: Visualize.
Try this trick for instant vertical jump increases. Test your jump by seeing how high on the backboard you get. Now close your eyes and vividly imagine yourself exploding upwards to a goal you have.
Next, imagine all the muscles in your legs getting stronger and bigger. Then you should focus on feeling lighter, loose & springy. Think about it for a moment.
Finally repeat this out-loud or in your head,"I feel myself getting more powerful and much lighter." Now your ready to try that jump again. Everyone I've taught this method so far has experienced an immediate gain no less than 2 inches & some as much as 5 inches!
Tip #2: Forceful Arm-Swing.
This is a commonly neglected jump factor that can account for 15% more lift. Try this, next jump you go up for I want you to deliberately concentrate on swinging your arms up fast, timing it with the jump. See what happens!
Tip #3: Flexibility.
Those elite gymnast that I've worked with can generate a lot of total body power. How else do you pull off a Triple back-flip? Well all of them have total body flexibility, which has too many benefits to mention here, but one is a role in the stretch-reflex-shortening cycle. Start stretching at least 3 times a week.
One final thought here: stretch only after your work-outs. Research indicates stretching before an event or work out actually decreases power output. Pay special attention to the hip flexors, hamstrings and glutes.
Tip #4: Inner Abdominal Strength.
I'm not referring to the rectus-abs you get from sit-ups, you already know they're important. I'm talking about the transverse abdominal wall, underneath them, which plays a key role in every power movement and you can make them stronger.
Suck in your stomach with a deep breath, try to imagine sucking into the spine. Hold this position for 20 seconds. Repeat 4 more times, do these 3-4 times a week to reap the performance rewards and the appearance of a slimmer waist as the internal organs won't sag!
Tip #5: The Overspeed Jump.
You will not find this jump drill in any manual, ebook or training programs. If you ever get bored of doing the same old plyometrics here is a completely new exercise to add to the mix. Plyometrics seek to train the nervous system to speed up reflex action for jumps, or any explosive movements for that matter at the take off.
Maximum power training, along with traditional weight training seek to add to the strength side of the equation. But what about raw muscle speed? Here's a brand new drill for just that: What you will first need is a small jogging trampoline, if not a makeshift ramp about 6ft. in length may do.
Next what you need is a target that you jump at like say a basketball hoop. Now what you are going to do is place the trampoline 1-2 strides away from the goal, run and make your last step before you plant to jump a stride off the tramp (note: your not doing actual jumps off the mini tramp). This will overspeed your run just before the actual take-off, making your legs jump quicker as well! When done correctly you will make a noticeably higher leap! This is what you will gain when you teach your muscles to move faster through the jump. We are currently experimenting with better methods and new training like this and possibly even better ones to come. Stay tuned in!
Tip #6: Strengthen The Tibialis Anterior.
Here's one many athletes have used with great results. This muscle is located on the shin & commonly referred to as the Dorsi-Flexors. Build these and you will add inches to your jump, eliminate shin splints, and improve take-off quickness. The Dorsi-Flexors stabilize the lower leg allowing maximum take-off force. You won't target this group using the Proprioceptor plugs.
The reason this works is because each muscle group has a counter-balancing group of muscles. You can only be as strong as the opposing muscles, so hundreds of weighted calf raises will soon plateau if you don't develop these stabilizers. One way to start working them, is try walking around on your heels without letting the ball of your foot touch. Do this until you feel a good burn.
Ultimately you're going to have to take better measures! In our complete vertical jump program "bionic jumping power" I'll show you much better ways to develop your shins. The pros use a special devise called D.A.R.D, that will allow you to build maximum strength in the shins.
Tip #7: Build Or Speed Up Twitch Fibers.
If you want to make leaps and bounds first we have to stop the bleeding! By this I mean no more slow-twitch inducing exercises like aerobics. Ask yourself does the sport your involved with require power or endurance? If you're a football player, gymnast, or sprinter (I think you get my point) you have NO need for aerobic training.
When would you use it? The more you do long duration endurance training the more your muscles will learn oxygen consuming low output slow-twitch characteristics. You want muscles that are becoming more efficient at using the creatine phosphate energy system! So without sounding like I'm hating on aerobics here, you really need to focus on those high-intensity/short duration drills like sprinting. Interestingly enough sprinters have the highest percentage of fast-twitch muscles of all athletes.
Who do you think jumps higher the sprinter or the marathoner?
One final though on this subject is recent research in Nitric Oxide (NO) supplements seems to indicate that they speed up fast-twitch muscles and seem to make slow-twitch fibers act more like the fast as well. This may make this the ultimate in vertical jump supplementation possibly rivaling with Creatine Monohydrate!
Tip #8: Waveloading.
Here is another good instant vert. Trick you can play on the nervous system. Load your body with some weight before jumping, like say jumping with a medicineball. What happens is your body will recruit more motor units in the working muscles, allowing the work to seem much easier when you don't have the weight because you are now using more of them! This trick works with any exercise and is great for breaking plateaus.
Tip #9: Springbak Speedsoles.
Former L.A. Laker Bill Crow is the genius behind these micro thin shoe inserts, made of patented material, that are being used by U.S.A. Olympic volleyball teams. Remember the old saying "It must be the shoes", well it is if you have these speedsoles in them!
When I first saw them I thought the claims were a farce, so I had to buy some to put them to the test. We at Bionic Plyometrics found with the inserts in an immediate 2 inch increase in vertical jump and drop in 40-yard dash times of 1/10 of a second. These springbak rubber shoe inserts are gradually becoming more popular and retail for about $25.
Tip #10: Strengthen The Toe Muscles.
Flexor Hallucis Longus are the small muscles that start in the lower leg and come down to the big toe. Work this for an added inch by trying to curl in/or crunch the toes. Another drill is to push up onto the tip toes and hold that for at least 10 seconds.
Check with our site periodically to see what's new since I am always conducting new experiments as well as doing new research on this and many related topics! Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have on your firstname.lastname@example.org and good luck!