How to Increase your Vertical Jump by 2 Inches

Add 2 inches to your vertical jumpFor those of us that work with athletes, you know that eventually you will get questions from them such as,how can I increase my vertical jump?  I’m sure you have heard it a lot.  What if I told you that you can increase your vertical jump by 2 inches in just a few minutes?  That 2 inches can prove to be pretty valuable, right?  Of course it would, any athlete would tell you that.  And the answer to that question comes back down to the debate of static versus dynamic stretching.

Photo by wwarby

Static Vs. Dynamic Stretching

A study was published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that assessed vertical jump and standing long jump performance in 17 collegiate athletes.  The researchers wanted to assess the impact that various forms of stretching had on jump performance.  There were three variables:

  1. Those that performed static stretching
  2. Those that performed dynamic stretching
  3. Those that performed no stretching

Results showed that when compared to no stretching, dynamic stretching increased vertical jump height by 1.48 inches and standing long jump distance 2.18 inches.  Conversely, when compared to no stretching, the static stretch group actually showed a decrease in performance of 0.51 inches on the vertical jump and 2.67 inches on the long jump.

Increase Your Vertical Jump by 2 Inches

So how can you easily add 2 inches to your vertical jump?  Switch from traditional static stretching to dynamic stretching before activities.

The authors of this study performed what I would consider a thorough and pretty generic dynamic stretch warm up routine:

  • Forward lunge with forearm to opposite instep
  • Backward lunge with rotation
  • Jackknife/inchworm
  • Knee to chest
  • Toe touch
  • Straight leg march
  • Straight leg march with skipping
  • Lateral shuffle with countermovement
  • Lateral leg swings
  • straight leg swings
  • Hip rockers
  • Reverse hip rockers
  • Inverted hamstring
  • Lunge fast
  • Short and long carioca
  • Falling starts
  • backpedal with turn
  • backpedal with 2 lateral turns

The results of this study are not new and I bet the results would be similar with different dynamic warm up routines.  If you comb the research, there is some mild conflicting data about the efficacy of dynamic and static stretching, but as a whole most studies show that dynamic stretching is superior and that static stretching can actually decrease performance.

We still do not have complete scientific backing as to why this phenomenon occurs, but theories that dynamic stretching enhances muscle activation and warm up while static stretching decreases the muscles ability to generate tension seem to have the potential to be valid.

Specific studies have shown that dynamic stretching:

  • Increases leg power on jump performance
  • Improves sprint performance
  • Improves submaximal running performance
  • Improves vertical jump height
  • Improves standing long jump distance

Conversely, other studies have shown that static stretching:

  • Decreases lower extremity power
  • Decreases sprint performance
  • Decreases vertical jump height
  • Decreases standing long jump distance

This current study is just another example of the benefits of dynamic stretching instead of static stretching.  It seems like if you haven’t made the transition yet, you should probably consider.

Is there a place for static stretching?

Sure, of course there is.  I still statically stretch my athletes, especially ones that we are working on specific deficiencies.  Static stretching has still been shown to be a valuable tool to enhance motion and flexibility.  The key here is to differentiate when you need to enhance flexibility.  Perhaps when we discuss athletic preparation for the healthy individuals, static stretching may be less appropriate than dynamic stretching.When it is all said and done, who wouldn’t want to add 2 inches to your vertical jump?

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9 Responses to “How to Increase your Vertical Jump by 2 Inches”

  1. Anybody know how long it takes for a body to “recover” from static stretching or whether dynamic stretching can be used to “reset” the body after dynamic stretching?

    Dave

  2. Thanks for the article Mike! The JSCR came out with a couple of research articles about the benefits of dynamic stretching so I’m glad you were able to spread the word.

  3. Dave,

    In terms of the viscoelastic properties of the musculotendinous unit returning to baseline, research has shown that it happens ~ 1hour following 5, 90 second stretches. Though its important to remember that there are not only viscoelastic properties but neural effects as well which I do not know if there is any research pertaining to that aspect. Mike, this was some good information…thanks for sharing

    • Wow! I guess based on this research static stretching should most likely be placed at the tail end of a strength and power training session then huh?

      I’ve never personally experienced a strength deficit from static stretching prior to training. I wonder how pronounced the difference is.

  4. Thanks, Chris!

  5. MIke,
    Thanks a lot. I think that part of the reason is when static stretching they maybe taking the muscle pass the perfect length on the length tension curve for optimal performance, whereas the dynamic the muscles only go as far as needed in the stretch with that specific movement.

  6. It looks like the dynamic stretching routine from the study is very thorough, but I am wondering what other people use as their staple dynamic warm-up exercises. Not sure there would be much time left for a workout after completing ALL of those!

    • I bet this could be reduced and still achieve good results, though not by much. When I design dynamic warm ups, I try to make sure I hit all areas, hence the length.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Bret Contreras » Good Reads and Updates - November 14, 2011

    […] Mike Reinold wrote up a blogpost on a recent journal article on the topic of stretching prior to an explosive activity. I recently read over this study and was hoping that someone would do a write-up on it so I’m glad Mike discusssed it. I like Mike as he’s very evidence-based. Check it out HERE. […]