Author Topic: Commonalities of High Level jumping athletes (single leg)  (Read 10319 times)

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LanceSTS

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Commonalities of High Level jumping athletes (single leg)
« on: April 14, 2012, 03:37:35 am »
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   I was looking through some old print outs I had from a few years back that had some of the training sheets of some of the  athletes in track and field I worked with.  I know the jumps are of particular interest here so I figured I would write down some things that some of the better ones had in common, and things that made them unique to the others.  

  For a reference frame, these are all collegiate division 1 and 1aa  athletes Im using in this comparison, and the two "better" athletes in the group were in the top 20 in the nation at one point in their career.  Some of the things that they did very well in comparison to other athletes, and strong points are listed  below.


 * Glutes and hamstrings fired EXTREMELY well in one leg exercises, even exercises that would typically  be considered "quad" focused.  For example, single leg  box squats would hammer the glutes and hams of the higher level  jumpers, where most of the football guys would get a quad  burn.  Even some of the faster guys and sprinters would claim to feel the exercise a lot in the quad, where the  jumpers would report very little quad activity.  

  An interesting point I noticed then was how far they would naturally place their lead foot in front of the  box, even without me cuing it, where most athletes will naturally put the foot closer to the  body.  It is almost as if they dont want to  break at the knee, and would rather  break at the hip if they are in a position to do so.  Front squats were one of the only exercises we could really train the quads as a main focus.  


* Very high levels of "stiffness" in the hamstrings (the ability of the hamstrings to "lock up" so the glute can work optimally".

 This was extremely prevalent on the reverse hyper, with one and two leg exercises.  We would often work up to a high level of  band tension coupled with free weight, and do a reactive type reverse hyper.  The  jumpers would almost never fail the lift  by  breaking the knee and allowing collapse, they would simply fail to reach the desired height when it got too heavy or fast.  Almost all other athletes will fail this exercise  by allowing the knee to collapse, and trying to "press" the lift rather than extend the hip.


 * Insanely strong lower legs

Calves and soleus were almost impossible to work two legged in the weight room, even seated calves were done unilaterally, as the loads on two legs got ridiculous, and this is solid controlled form, all the way up on the toe and all the way down.  I remember setting up the 24 inch hurdles for one of our higher volume drills, and it looking like a stiff legged single leg  jump series, with PLENTY of clearance.  Very little to no movement except from the ankle.


 * Flexible glutes and hamstrings

 Really not much elaboration here, but it held true with all the best  jumpers.  I didnt include hip flexors and quads here due to the fact even though they were definitely mobile in those areas as well, most of my other athletes were on par with them, in those particular areas.


*Strong Lower abdominals, psoas

 Try this, go to any elite level high or long jumper, have them get into an L sit position on the dip handles, and see if you can push their legs down.  Then try that same experiment with anyone else.  There is a very large gap between their lower abdominal strength, especially statically, than other athletes.



  So, there are some of the similar characteristics that held true with very high level one leg jumpers.  Correlation doesnt imply causation, and there are of course other factors at play as well in their success as athletes.  If you can take something away from that, then thats great, if you cant, thats great too.  Its always interesting to me to see if I see some similarities in different athletes who are at a higher level in their particular event/strength/sport, and definitely helps with training targets and specificity.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2012, 03:52:02 am by LanceSTS »
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Raptor

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Re: Commonalities of High Level jumping athletes (single leg)
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2012, 05:20:33 am »
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Great stuff^^^

Now the question is - how can you get to be like these people? Taking these points each at a time, what would you do to improve onto them?

Harvey

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Re: Commonalities of High Level jumping athletes (single leg)
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2012, 07:19:47 am »
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What does this mean for two-leg jumpers?
RVJ: 32", only 18" to go!
RVJ: 35", only 15" to go!

barks217

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Re: Commonalities of High Level jumping athletes (single leg)
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2012, 10:23:51 am »
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Great post!

LanceSTS

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Re: Commonalities of High Level jumping athletes (single leg)
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2012, 01:04:45 pm »
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Great stuff^^^

Now the question is - how can you get to be like these people? Taking these points each at a time, what would you do to improve onto them?

 Thanks, and good idea.  When I get in later Ill outline those points and how to improve them.
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LanceSTS

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Re: Commonalities of High Level jumping athletes (single leg)
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2012, 01:07:45 pm »
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What does this mean for two-leg jumpers?

Im going to do another entry on the two leg jumps and vertical jump in a similar fashion/comparison next.  The two leg jumps have a lot more variance in strengths among good jumpers though.
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LanceSTS

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D4

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Re: Commonalities of High Level jumping athletes (single leg)
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2012, 01:39:52 pm »
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Nice article.  Looking forward to the update on how to improve on each of them.
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LanceSTS

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Re: Commonalities of High Level jumping athletes (single leg)
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2012, 01:16:40 am »
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Nice article.  Looking forward to the update on how to improve on each of them.

glad you liked it man, getting the second part up now.
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LanceSTS

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Re: Commonalities of High Level jumping athletes (single leg)
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2012, 01:17:00 am »
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  * Glutes and hamstrings fired EXTREMELY well in one leg exercises, even exercises that would typically  be considered "quad" focused

  One of the easiest ways to improve glute activity in squatting "type" exercises, is to simply get to the bottom of the exercise, unloaded, and perform an isometric hold, feeling for the glute to turn on.  If the glute is not firing, and not firing HARD, here are some things that work well to get them activated.

*  Flex the abdominals.  Simple, easy, yet works insanely well.  The key is to not shorten at the torso, and learn to fire the abdominals while in those positions, to allow the glutes to do their job.

* "Pull" down into the exercise rather than simply allowing the body to drop.  This will fire the hip flexors, hip flexors firing, glutes stretching, ready to contract, harder.

* Hip dips.  This is one of my favorite exercises, not only for athletes.  You stand on a 12-24 inch box, one leg off to the side, one leg on the box. Set it up so you have some type of handles to hang on to, dip handles work well as does the front of a squat rack.  Dorsi flex the foot of the non working leg, and lower under control until the heel of the non working leg lightly touches the ground, then stand back up.

 The key is to really focus on the GLUTE during the eccentric, sitting back, as well as maintaining a very tight core as to really fire them as much as possible. The concentric done correctly should feel like a hip extension rather than a knee extension. Try and use as little help from the arms as possible, they are for balance only. Once youve mastered bodyweight, you can easily load them in the same manner you would a 1 leg calf raise.



Very high levels of "stiffness" in the hamstrings (the ability of the hamstrings to "lock up" so the glute can work optimally".

  bounds are king here, specifically stiff leg bounds, or primetimes.  The problem with having someone who is using their hamstrings or quads to do what the glute should be doing here is, they will simply continue the flawed movement pattern. It doesnt take much knee extension to turn that exercise into a quad dominant one, and if you dont do it right, it doesnt correct anything.

 The best time to do these for athletes with firing issues is right after an exercise like hip dips or reverse hypers DONE CORRECTLY.  Have them start at HALF speed, and pay close attention that the hamstrings stay stiff, and they are feeling the glutes do the work.



Insanely strong lower legs



  Typical programming would always include a very high volume lower intensity single and double leg hops, skips, and bounds.  This helps a ton, along with the work in the weight room.  Single leg eccentric, double leg concentric calf raises done on the standing calf machine are the single fastest way to bring up lower leg strength on the planet imo.

 The overload of a controlled eccentric on one leg, with a weight you are raising with two, really does the trick here,  but special attention to form must  be maintained.  I start with a 2 second eccentric on a 15 rm of the 2leg CR, and progress from there. Dont worry about going super low here, from slightly  below parallel, to the very, VERY TOP should be the primary focus.  This really helps athletes with poor dorsi to plantar flexion a lot.


* Flexible glutes and hamstrings

 Dynamic work like leg swings, hurdle skips (swing leg over the hurdle), and having strong hamstrings, especially in the end of the rom.  The prime times help here as well, as do hamstring exercises that focus on the hams with the leg close to straight out.


*Strong Lower abdominals, psoas


 I have a single leg iso hold on youtube that was probably the most specific exercise done in this area concerning the jumpers.  We would load it with bands and with free weight, looping a band around the support leg to the knee of the bent leg, and holding a plate on the bent leg as well.  It really teaches the hip flexor/low abs firing of the bent leg, in sync with the glute firing of the support leg.

 Different types of loaded leg raises, really focusing on pushing up the resistance, and getting as high as possible with the upper thighs are key as well.

 
  
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Raptor

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Re: Commonalities of High Level jumping athletes (single leg)
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2012, 08:41:00 am »
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* Hip dips.  This is one of my favorite exercises, not only for athletes.  You stand on a 12-24 inch box, one leg off to the side, one leg on the box. Set it up so you have some type of handles to hang on to, dip handles work well as does the front of a squat rack.  Dorsi flex the foot of the non working leg, and lower under control until the heel of the non working leg lightly touches the ground, then stand back up.

 The key is to really focus on the GLUTE during the eccentric, sitting back, as well as maintaining a very tight core as to really fire them as much as possible. The concentric done correctly should feel like a hip extension rather than a knee extension. Try and use as little help from the arms as possible, they are for balance only. Once youve mastered bodyweight, you can easily load them in the same manner you would a 1 leg calf raise.

You mean a short range pistol squat?

LanceSTS

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Re: Commonalities of High Level jumping athletes (single leg)
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2012, 09:20:27 am »
+1
* Hip dips.  This is one of my favorite exercises, not only for athletes.  You stand on a 12-24 inch box, one leg off to the side, one leg on the box. Set it up so you have some type of handles to hang on to, dip handles work well as does the front of a squat rack.  Dorsi flex the foot of the non working leg, and lower under control until the heel of the non working leg lightly touches the ground, then stand back up.

 The key is to really focus on the GLUTE during the eccentric, sitting back, as well as maintaining a very tight core as to really fire them as much as possible. The concentric done correctly should feel like a hip extension rather than a knee extension. Try and use as little help from the arms as possible, they are for balance only. Once youve mastered bodyweight, you can easily load them in the same manner you would a 1 leg calf raise.

You mean a short range pistol squat?

 Nah, the trailing leg will land directly under the torso, or slightly  behind with these.  The primary focus is to touch the non working legs heel, using as much of the glute as possible.  Pistols are alot more quad/knee focused.  I guess you could think of it / cue,  more as lowering the pelvis, vs simply lowering the body if that helps make it more clear what we are after.

 If you have a place to do them handy, try a few, really focusing on hammering the glute of the working leg.  Once you get some  blood flow going in the hips, do a couple of Jumps off that leg, focusing on the same things... really "grab" the femur with the hip flexors, abs firing hard, and see if you dont notice a difference.  You dont have to go all out at first, half speed and feel for differences.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2012, 09:54:56 am by LanceSTS »
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Raptor

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Re: Commonalities of High Level jumping athletes (single leg)
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2012, 10:32:18 am »
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So it's a Peterson step-up, just that it is glute-oriented vs quad-oriented as in a Peterson step-up.

I tried a few, but the tendency is to bend the knee, otherwise I'll fall back. I guess here the abs are important to maintain the correct position (hips back vs. knee forward)

LanceSTS

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Re: Commonalities of High Level jumping athletes (single leg)
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2012, 03:05:23 pm »
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So it's a Peterson step-up, just that it is glute-oriented vs quad-oriented as in a Peterson step-up.

I tried a few, but the tendency is to bend the knee, otherwise I'll fall back. I guess here the abs are important to maintain the correct position (hips back vs. knee forward)


 Youre going to bend the knee!  Its the EMPHASIS on the glute that matters.  Youll know when you have it right, a set of 10 will make your glutes feel like they are on fire.
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nba8340

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Re: Commonalities of High Level jumping athletes (single leg)
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2012, 02:34:56 am »
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interesting stuff lance

what do you think the importance of the  strong psoas/lower abdominals is?

is this the l-sit video you were referring to? I couldn't find any single legged

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqwiuZIvFNw&feature=plcp&context=C490ecafVDvjVQa1PpcFOlGAHDP3OnSLOxcrEQ6poWrhpvwNKQ7yk%3D

looking forward to hearing your version for 2 legged jumpers