The vertical leap is tested at the NFL Combine. (AP Photo)
Explosiveness, as it pertains to a sport like football, is a combination of strength, power, conditioning, flexibility, and skill proficiency. These traits are vital to the success of an athlete at every level and are characteristics that can be improved through proper training. A standard measurement for explosiveness is the vertical jump test (used at every major football combine, including the NFL). If you really want to reach your potential and maximize your vertical jump, it is important you participate in a truly comprehensive training program.
After 10 years of experience as a professional strength & conditioning coach, I have developed a vertical jump training program called the M.V.P. (Maximum Vertical Potential). The key to the M.V.P. Program is training the "Core 4." There are four key areas you must train if you want to jump as high as you possibly can--flexibility, strength, power, and core. If you aren't effectively training the "Core 4," you simply won't be able to reach your true vertical potential.
The goal of this article is to share these training concepts and help you improve your vertical jump. The principles behind the M.V.P. can be used by athletes of all ages and levels, from junior high to the NFL.
How Do You Improve Your Vertical Jump?
Explosiveness is an important ingredient in the game of football. After all, with all else equal, the athlete who can run faster, jump higher, and hit harder has a tremendous advantage on the gridiron. Vast improvements can be made to an athlete's explosiveness and vertical jump by implementing a structured, progressive, and safe training program that focuses on the "Core 4" mentioned above: flexibility, strength, power, and core. By improving each of these four areas, you will greatly improve your vertical jump:
Flexibility is defined as the range of motion in a joint or series of joints. It is important to increase the flexibility of your Achilles, calves, hamstrings, and hip flexors. This will aid in increasing your vertical jump. By improving the range of motion you can take your ankle and hip joints through, you can increase your potential to produce power. The more power you can produce, the higher you can jump.
The days of sitting on the ground and static stretching are over. You need to perform dynamic flexibility movements and exercises. In addition to improving flexibility, dynamic flexibility exercises assist in developing coordination and motor ability---both of which are attributes to help improve your overall explosiveness.