I bet that many of you have seen how someone unfamiliar with weightlifting is surprised to see those “massive immobile guys” to jump on a high deck of bumper plates. But those who lift do know that burst capabilities of weightlifters may be really astonishing. Most of the strongest lifters jump really high, but does that mean that if you jump high you will lift a lot? Is strong jump a nice bonus or a prerequisite for success? These questions do come to mind, but whatever the answer is, the fact is that jumping exercises have their place in weightlifters’ training.
I would not say that weightlifting is just about “jumping with the bar”, but a strong jump is a fair indication of leg speed and power. I do believe that jumping work should have some place in every weightlifting routine. However, it is not a plug’n’play thing. You need to introduce jumps into your training cycle wisely and I hope that article may give you some idea of how to do that.
First and foremost, you need to distinguish between two types of “jump work”
- Jumping exercises
- Working on the jump through auxiliary exercises
The first group is as simple as it sounds—you need to get a higher or longer jump and that will be your result.
However, for the second type of work, the key is to do it the right way, getting proper timing and coordination. That means that the height is not your priority—you need to do it quickly and accurately, landing in the right position.
As usual, to get the best result you need to pay attention to both methods. That is, however, good news, since there is synergy between these two kinds of work. Let us examine these groups separately.
jumping work should have some place in every weightlifting routine.
The arsenal is pretty rich here.
First of all, that could be:
- Box jumps
- Jumps over an obstacle
- Long/broad jumps
For any of those you may use the following alterations:
- Bodyweight or extra weight
- With a countermovement or from dead stop
- From full bottom position
One thing I rarely see but like to use is depth jumps where you put two boxes with some space in between, jump down from first box into the “pit” and then immediately jump on the second box without any delay, making it a single movement.
Another one method I like to use and do not see getting enough attention is jumping out of the full squat with the bar
. You put the bar on back, go full bottom and then jump out. The alteration for this exercise are following:
- Full bottom or half-bottom position
- Bodyweight or bar
- Dynamic (spring off for the next rep when you reach bottom) or static (paused)
It is very important with this exercise to remember that you need to land ine the same position in which you started (i.e. do not jump forward or backward).
With these jumping exercises, you may have enough combinations to maintain the principle of variation in your training cycle. The rule of thumb for their use is to either put them at the end of the training session or on a separate GPP day.
Auxiliary Exercises with the Barbell
This method means that we will have to amend our classical lifts and their variations so that they get focused on jumping power, speed and accuracy. The list of exercises you can use in this way is long enough not to mention all of them, so I will cite a few that I prefer most.
Clean/snatch “out of the pit”:
Put two bumper plates on the floor and stand in between them—one plate right outside each foot. When you perform clean/snatch (no matter whether from the floor or hang position) finish the movement with the jump that will be powerful enough to jump onto these plates (i.e. lift the feet and land on the plates).
Clean/snatch pull with jump:
This is basically a normal clean/snatch pull (yet again, no matter whether from the floor or hang position) that you finish with a jump. The jump shall be basically the logical finish of a powerful pull, and it is crucial that you land in the same place (i.e. not jump forward or backward).
Snatch balance and power jerk (from back):
Apart from helping with the drop phase, these exercises allow you to focus on leg drive and jump more than classical lifts as they are technically much easier than those involving pull and the bar is better balanced there, and you do not need to think about not letting the bar drag you forward.
If your goal is to pull the bar high enough to rack it in standing position, you will automatically make a powerful jump as you need to engage every reserve to do so (of course if the weight is heavy enough).
This is of course just a part of all exercises and ways which may help you to develop a powerful jump, but if you have never thought of putting emphasis on your jumping capabilities, this list is a good starting point. However, as in any other aspect, do not rush for everything at once and introduce them gradually. Once you tackle all of them and introduce them in your training cycle, it will have a positive effect on your jump capabilities and thus on your classical lifts.