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Improve Your Jumping Ability by Bill Starr - CrossFit Journal
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Bill Starr offers up an air-superiority program based around squats and calf raises.

Being able to jump high is a great advantage in so many sports. After watching the NCAA basketball tournament, I am always impressed at how the men soar in the air. They not only climb ridiculously high, but they also seem to have the ability to hit a second gear and shoot up another few inches when they need to.

I also love watching beach and indoor volleyball. How some of those athletes get up way over the net seems impossible, yet they are able to do it time after time. Volleyball and basketball are the two sports that emphasize jumping ability the most—in team sports, that is. Individual sports such as high jumping and long jumping are all about soaring high and long.

Yet being able to jump high is also a great advantage in many other sports, although it’s seldom talked about.

The routine for improving the ability to jump higher is very simple. It consists of squats and two forms of calf raises.

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5 Comments on “Improve Your Jumping Ability ”


wrote …

Calf raises? This seems dubious to me. I don't see anyone getting much vertical acceleration from just opening the ankle (just based on the mechanical lever alone). Your time would be better served by supplementing your strength program with plyometrics.


wrote …

I havent done calf raises in years. Surprised there was no mention of actually jumping to increase your vertical.


wrote …

As someone who would like to increase my explosiveness as well and calves size, I'm thinking of following the program mentioned in the article.

I've read that calves aren't that important for jumping power, but then again, it seems like most people who jump well have well developed calves. Any additional information on this would be appreciated.

Also, another great article from Bill Starr - I enjoy all of them!


wrote …

Really want to increse your jump? One word, VERTIMAX!!!


wrote …

I think in general, any kind of proprioceptive work on the ankle/calf will definitely help increase vertical jump power. Anyone who plays beach volleyball in deep sand, is getting that proprioceptive workout as they play. But I don't think I'd go as far as saying they have very defined/muscular calves from doing huge/slow lifts. And calf raises seem so rudimentary when there are a plethora of plyometric workouts that do much more (i.e. use some jumpsoles).

In fact, the majority of guys that I know who play either pro beach or indoor volleyball and have ridiculous 40"+ verts, have very skinny calves/legs. Therefore the small muscles they do have, rely more on those fast twitch explosive muscle fibers, rather than achieving pure bulk to achieve power. Rarely ever do you see them working out with huge body weight+ squats, instead lower weight and faster more explosive reps involving power cleans/cleans/jumping lunges/squats.

Not saying either way is right or wrong, just what I've seen in the training at the majority of pro level beach/indoor volleyball players.

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