Being considered “Athletic” is a very broad term. An Olympic gymnast and a professional football player are both considered top athletes, however, each sport requires vastly different demands from the body. That being said, one thing remains the same for both sports. Strong, powerful, and injury resistant lower bodies (lower back and legs) are arguably the defining factor in how well and consistent each is able to perform in their respective sport.
Before we get into it, let's first define what jump training is. For the most part, jump training is synonymous with plyometrics. Plyometrics are explosive exercises that activate the quick response and elastic properties of your muscles. However, at Jb Performance we define jump training a little differently. To us, jump training is a tripod. The first leg focuses on improving lower extremity power. The second leg focuses on improving what we call “The Bounce”. The last leg focuses on mobility/injury prevention techniques. Training all three legs will lead to an elite level of athletic performance that is unmatched in almost any sport. If you consider yourself an advanced athlete, but are feeling like you’ve plateaued, jump training may be the stimulus you need to take your game to the next level. It is recommended to have a solid foundation of strength, flexibility, and proprioception before beginning a jump training program. Additionally, there are two important things to keep in mind. (1) Take adequate rest (minimum 48 hours) between subsequent jump training sessions and (2) never perform extended periods of jump training sessions on hard surfaces like concrete.
The 3 Main Benefits of Jump Training
Improves Change of Direction Speed, Agility, and Quickness
“The Bounce” as referred to above, is the most critical aspect of developing killer COD Speed, Agility, and Quickness. Training “The Bounce” can be boiled down to performing jumping exercises without overly bending the knees and reducing the amount of time on the ground between subsequent jumps to as little as possible. This is asking a lot from our muscles. If we break it down, we are asking our muscles to absorb a body (your body) in motion that is accelerated due to gravity. Force = Mass x Acceleration (gravity = acceleration). By landing or jumping from an elevated position relative to the ground, we are increasing the amount of force our lower body (ankles, hips, calves, quads) sees (commonly referred to as shock).
The idea behind Jb Performance’s style of jump training is to gradually and safely extend beyond the forces our body would see naturally. Your body adapts to whatever stress you put it under i.e. the Principle of Specificity. If you start jumping with a weight vest on and gradually increase the weight starting at 3lb every week, over time, the goal is to jump as high and as rapidly with a 25lb weight vest on as you would be “normally” (in this case, normally would be a datum that you as the individual set). Imagine feeling “normal” with a 25lb weight vest on. Now imagine taking that weight vest off. You’re going to feel like you’re jumping on the moon! This is one of the main reasons Jb Performance recommends every intermediate to advanced athlete have a weight vest! You can preorder our signature weight vest here.
Now to bring this conversation full circle, imagine jumping side to side, changing direction, or just sprinting with some sort of resistive external stimulus (i.e. a weight vest). Do this consistently over time and your body will adapt to these forces. “How can this make me faster though?” Well if you dig deeper and look at what speed really is you will see. Speed = stride length x stride rate. Jump training focuses on improving that first variable, stride length. Conditioning your leg muscles to absorb heavy forces quickly will allow them to increase the distance covered by each explosive step. The exercise that illustrates this concept well is the bound.
Develops Incredibly Strong and Powerful Legs
Did we mention jump training will develop incredibly strong and powerful legs? This benefit should be a no brainer, but it is worth mentioning nonetheless. A proper jump training program will safely pack on lower body mass, power, and strength. Having strong and powerful legs has many more benefits than just ~jumping higher~. You're able to accelerate out of lower, compromising positions much faster (i.e out of a face off position, ground ball, etc.). You’re able to hold an athletic position for longer. Standard athletic position is knees slightly bent, butt back, and torso tall. This position puts the athlete in the most advantageous position to accelerate in any direction. If you have weak legs, you’ll be fatigued just being in an athletic position.
Helps to Prevent Common Non-Contact Injuries
Most often jump training is associated with helping athletes develop a high level of power potential. However, If you take a deeper look you can see that jump training serves a second, arguably more important purpose. Since jump training trains an athlete's muscles to absorb large powerful eccentric contractions, it's safe to say that it improves the muscles ability to decelerate more efficiently and thus, resist injury. Done properly, jump training can drastically reduce the likelihood of non-contact injuries like ACL tears.
Jump Training has many benefits when it comes to athletic performance for the sport of Lacrosse. You will be jumping higher, running faster, and be more injury resistant than ever before. Be warned that jump training is an advanced training method that should only be done under proper supervision or following a guided program. Be sure to check us out on instagram and get in touch if you want to get started on a jump training program!