Written By Dave
What is one thing besides the skills of volleyball that athletes invest a great amount of time trying to improve? You guess it, vertical jump. It was only a matter of time before a volleyball conditioning site tackled the vertical jump. This is a large topic and one very relevant to volleyball. For these reasons a number of posts will be presented on all aspects of jumping and jump training.
This particular post will look at some of the physics behind jumping and some key factors involved in jumping high.
Two of the main factors are the amount of power you transfer into the ground and the efficiency of your movement.
There are a few factors that can effect how much power you can put into the ground. In physics terms power is defined as;
Power = force * acceleration
Many strength coaches have redefined this in practical terms to;
Power = strength * speed.
This means that to be powerful, and jump high you must have a good base of strength (some raw horsepower). This basically means strong legs will jump high.
The other side of the equation is you must also have speed. This is not referring to your
100m time, but rather how quickly you can transfer your strength to the ground. Ground contact times when jumping are short and you need to be able to display your strength as quickly as possible.
Another factor that influences the amount of force being transmitted to the ground is your body structure. You have to have good relative strength, which is strength per unit of body weight. This is also referred to as your power to weight ratio. This means if you are carrying a 20kg beer gut you are not likely to jump very high. But if you lost the gut whilst maintaining your power, your power to weight ratio would improve dramatically and you would jump higher.
Some people naturally have a build that is designed to jump high. Long Achilles tendons, long thigh bones and high muscle attachments allow them to transmit force to the ground very efficiently. These people are lucky and can often jump high without any training.
Movement efficiency is related to co-ordination and being light on your feet. You may be a powerful guy, but if you trip over your feet while approaching for a spike you are not going to jump very high.
To summarize some of the key factors involved in jumping high:
- Be powerful- which is a mixture of strength and speed
- Have a good power to weight ratio- be lean and have functional (useful) muscle mass
- Be lucky enough to have a natural spring- e.g. long Achilles tendon and other anatomical benefits
- Be co-ordinated and move efficiently.
So this gives you an idea of what it takes to jump high. Keep and eye out for further information on how to train and improve each of these parameters.