An impressive vertical jump is an attribute sought after by athletes of many sports. We've all seen the countless highlights of players soaring through the air and slamming the ball through the hoop. NFL scouts place a large emphasis on vertical leaping ability at the Combines every year. While an exciting aspect of many sports, there are several very important reasons for developing your jump as it relates to lacrosse. A high vertical jump is one of the best indicators of an athlete's ability to start and stop explosively. Without having proper levels of strength, you will never be able to jump high or achieve optimal acceleration skills that are needed on the field. Starting quickly is all about the ability to overcome inertia. That is why the fastest 10m runners in the world are shot putters and hammer throwers, not sprinters. These athletes have an incredible amount of strength per pound of bodyweight. Want that explosive burst? You need to develop your strength in the posterior chain.
The posterior chain involves muscles which are all too often neglected. The main muscles of the posterior chain are the hamstring muscles and the glutes. These muscles, when properly developed, create the potential for powerful hip extension. This is the movement critical to jumping high or exploding past a defender on the field. Another benefit to training the posterior chain is the prevention of injury. I have seen many times in training programs where so much emphasis is placed on the squat and development of the quads, that the hamstrings are neglected. This unbalanced approach to training the lower body often results in injuries, such as a torn ACL, a common occurence in lacrosse.
Another critical component of having a powerful vertical jump is properly training the energy systems of your body. Excessive aerobic training can be detrimental to your ability to achieve explosive movements during a game. Studies have shown an inverse relationship between your aerobic capacity and your vertical jump score. Basically, the better your aerobic endurance, the slower your movement will become on the field. It is important that when you are preparing for the season, your energy system training program should be comprised mostly of sprint work. Distances should range from 10m starting sprints to 400m interval training.
Brian Yeager is the owner of Pro Strength and new head strength and conditioning coach for the Philadelphia Barrage. In addition to training several players from the Philadelphia Wings, Brian has also worked with athletes from Villanova University, Malvern Prep, and Villa Maria Academy for Girls, in Malvern, Pa. Formerly a strength consultant for Lightning Fast training systems in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, he has now focused his attention on the exciting, fast paced sport of indoor/outdoor lacrosse.
Medical Disclaimer: The information and routines outlined in the article are intended only for healthy individuals. Individuals with health problems or a history of injury should not use these or any exercise routines without a physician's approval. Before beginning any exercise or dietary program, please consult with your physician and/or coach, as well as with your parent/guardian if you are a minor.
Head on a Swivel, E-Lacrosse, LMAO, CrosseTown, Stick Science, StickTech, Laxicon, Surf the Game & Save the Dive are trademarks of Tonabricks. Tonabricks copyright, 1997-2008