There's been a lot of confusion about the role of jumping, throwing, and different explosive movements in training. It's reached the point that no one seems to be "ready" for them. Some experts have deemed that a lifter must achieve a certain level of strength in the main lifts (double bodyweight squat for example) before embarking on any type of jumping program.
Apparently, this rule does not apply to my 7-year-old son and his classmates at recess, or they just choose to ignore it as they run, hop, and jump until the bell rings. Perhaps in 10 years, my son will read these experts and become, like many, totally paralyzed in training. But not if I have anything to say about it. So let's clear some things up now.
First, unless you're terribly obese, have no coordination, and/or play World of Warcraft your entire life, you can jump. You may not be fielding offers for track and field scholarships, but you can do it. If you still doubt that you can, please expect more from yourself. Seriously. Doctors put animal hearts into humans to allow them to live, so I don't think it's asking a lot that you get a little air under your feet.
Second, your jumping programing doesn't have to be "Russian" or whatever the new pseudo-underground buzzword is. If you want to jump in your training, the best way to do it is, to jump. Seriously, don't over-think it too much.
Third, you don't have to "max" out in your jumps every time. As long as the height of the box in a box jump or the distance to travel in a long jump challenges you, you're doing it right. Don't think that every time you leave your feet that you have to set some kind of personal record. It's not necessary. You can't jump a challenging height or distance slow, so stop stressing about it.
Here's an easy and effective method to apply this to your training. You'll perform three types of jumps:
- Jumping on an object (box jump)
- Jumping over an object (over a box or bench)
- Jumping out (standing long jump)
Pick one and once a week, do 3 sets of 5 jumps. An easy way to do this that will also help your training is to program your jumps either in the beginning of your workout (after a thorough warm-up) or between the warm-up sets of your main lift of the day. These can be done between your lower body lifts (squat and deadlift) or your upper body lifts (press and bench press).
An example of the latter would be the following:
- Squat – 135x5
- Box Jump x 5
- Squat – 225x5
- Box Jump x 5
- Squat – 315x5
- Box Jump x5
- Squat work sets – whatever your program dictates.
No, your legs won't be too tired – your legs will be primed for the work sets and you'll get a nice explosive boost to your training.
Also, this will not add any time to your training. Fact is, this is the easiest and best way to add some true explosive work into your training and still be able to get strong. Understand that box jumps also involve a great deal of hip flexibility so be sure you are supple prior to jumping.
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