Jump for Strength Gains

Jump for Strength Gains

Are you jumping on a regular basis?  Whether you’re an athlete training for performance or you are simply training for your own health and aesthetic goals, performing jumps should be a regular part of your plan.  Jumps are explosive movements that allow your body to create both muscular and neurological adaptations.

Most jump require minimal other equipment, but they tend to have a significant carryover to the big compound, lower body lifts (i.e. the squat and deadlift). Jumps teach your body how to move explosively, and by helping to improve squats and deadlifts almost always translates into an improvement in athletic performance.  And jumps also tend to burn a lot of calories because they are very metabolic, hence why they are often programmed into metabolic conditioning sessions.

PAP:  Post Activation Potentiation

PAP stands for post-activation potentiation. There are numerous studies that prove its effectiveness for athletes.  It is the phenomenon by which muscular performance is enhanced as a result of previous contractions. As an example, if you were to perform a 3-5 jump squats prior to doing a 5RM back squat, it is highly likely that you would be able to back squat more explosively.  And the reverse is true – squat before jumping, and your jumps will likely be higher and faster.  Most researchers believe that PAP mainly enhances explosive/power movements and sub-maximal loads. It doesn’t have a large effect on maximal loads.

Examples of Jumps

The following list of jumps can be easily programmed for either PAP or metabolic conditioning.

  • Box Jumps
  • Jump Squats
  • Vertical Jumps
  • Depth Jumps
  • Broad Jumps
  • Skaters
  • Jumping Jacks

Note:  I don’t recommend doing these at every workout because they can be intense on the legs.

Practical Considerations

When it comes to explosive movements that are neurologically demanding, more is never better.  Focus on quality rather than quantity.  Also, be sure to take your bodyweight and current fitness level into consideration.  Heavier individuals should do less reps, because of the potential for joint distress.  Finally, be sure to rest appropriately.  Jumps rely heavily on ATP provided by the body since they’re done quickly and over a short period of time.  Rest about 3 times longer than it took yo to complete the jump set, so that you can properly recovery your energy system.  Again, quality trumps quantity when it comes to jumps.

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