One of the most overlooked aspects of a jump training program is stretching. People expect to jump for 45 minutes, go home and rest, and then watch their vertical leaps improve. This type of training will result in lessened gains, as well as a significant increase for the chance of injury. Performing proper jump stretches before AND after jumping will result in better gains, and a healthier body. Follow these guidelines and you’ll be on your way to a proper jump workout:
Before the workout
Before you start jumping, the goal is to get your entire body prepared for strenuous activity. It is recommended by many top trainers to perform DYNAMIC stretches before a strenuous workout. Dynamic stretching will increase your heart rate, stimulate your nervous system, and improve flexibility and movement. So, here’s what we recommend when it comes to your dynamic workout:
Prepare your body for dynamic stretching, first with dynamic movements. Dynamic movements would include running or jumping rope. Our favorite is to combine both movements. For example, you can jog for 6 minutes, and jump rope for 4 minutes. The ideal length of the dynamic movement part is 10-15 minutes. If it is longer than that, you may be exhausting your muscles. That would defeat the purpose. Your goal here is to warm up your body, not burn it out.
Once your body has been dynamically moved, it is time to dynamically stretch it. When it comes to stretching, you have to listen to your body and adjust which stretches you do based on which body parts require more attention. For example, if you notice your calf gets very sore after your workouts, it may be beneficial to stretch this part of your body extra. Here is a basic stretch routine that you can use prior to jumping. Since this is dynamic stretching, hold each of these jump stretches for no longer than 5 seconds. Also, be sure to walk around while stretching to keep the body loose.
Stretch 1 – Calf stretch against wall
Stretch 2 – Forward lunge
Stretch 3 – Quad Stretch
Stretch 4 – Side Lunge
Stretch 5 – Touch Toes while Standing
If you’re unsure how to perform any of these stretches, search it up online. There are fitness experts who can explain the proper way to perform them much better than we can. Perform each stretch 6 times (or 6 on each side if it applies) for 5 seconds per repetition.
After the workout
Your stretch routine after the workout is just as important as before the workout. The difference is, at this point you will be performing STATIC stretches. Static stretches are meant to improve flexibility and prevent injury, over a longer period of time. You hold these jump stretches longer, and don’t move around while performing them. They will also not increase your heart rate. Once again, listen to your body when it comes to coming up with your own routine. Here is an example of a good post-jump workout static stretch routine:
Stretch 1 – Static Squat
Stretch 2 – Calf stretch against wall
Stretch 3 – Achilles Stretch on Stairs
Stretch 4 – Quad Stretch
Stretch 5 – Hip Flexor Stretch
Stretch 6 – Touch toes Standing
Stretch 7 – Touch Toes Sitting
Perform these stretches for 2 sets (or 2 per side) and 30 seconds each.
If you include a solid stretch routine in your jump training, you will watch your gains explode. Flexibility is necessary for muscles to exert the maximum force needed to jump high. More importantly, stretching before and after will significantly decrease the chance of injury, which is quite high for intense movements like jumping. Follow the guidelines listed above, then tweak it to match your own body’s needs.