Training, Racing & LCHF Fueling For Skating And Endurance Sports
46 centimeters, or 18.1 inches if you have a healthy disregard for the metric system – that’s the rather unimpressive result of my Vertical Jump test.
It’s not terrible, it’s just… depressingly mediocre. According to the people who presumably spend all day testing these things, I’m slap bang in the “average” range:
|excellent||> 28||> 70||> 24||> 60|
|very good||24 – 28||61-70||20 – 24||51-60|
|above average||20 – 24||51-60||16 – 20||41-50|
|average||16 – 20||41-50||12 – 16||31-40|
|below average||12 – 16||31-40||8 – 12||21-30|
|poor||8 – 12||21-30||4 – 8||11-20|
|very poor||< 8||< 21||< 4||< 11|
There are a lot of good reasons why I’m hoping to increase my VJ – and I’m not even planning on a career in the NBA any time soon.
I don’t talk about anaerobic power much, but there is no denying that strength and power are important components to being a well-balanced endurance athlete in addition to pure aerobic efficiency. As Coach Al Lyman of Pursuit Athletic Performance recently wrote: “Strength is the foundation upon which everything else is built.”
Fact is, there is a lot of good research and literature out there to suggest that a good vertical jump is positively associated with superior performance in just about all sports, in fact far more so than some other popular metrics such as 40yd dash or VO2max.
That’s probably unsurprising when you consider the two critical components of the VJ: power and neuromuscular coordination are critical even in middle-distance and endurance sports. Other things being equal, increasing your power will mean that can afford to recruit fewer muscle fibres to operate at any given sub-maximal intensity, thus reducing oxygen requirement and improving movement economy. This is essentially what happens (amongst other things) when we talk about a training effect.
One of the main reasons I like the VJ is simply… it’s simplicity. So long as you’ve done your warmup, it’s as easy as pie to perform. I think a video paints a thousand words.
This is easier to visually gauge if you do it against a brick wall; I know that a standard British house brick is 65mm. Add in 10mm of cement per brick, and you can pretty easily figure out the height of your VJ just by counting the number of bricks that you can reach.
Remember to test your VJ on both sides – you’d be surprised at the differences that using your dominant or non-dominant arm can have on your timing.
Of course, having a better VJ is not a guarantee of getting faster… but it may be an important marker for doing so. We must always be aware of the direction of causality between testing and performance – it is likely that higher level performers have a better VJ because they are have more power which also makes them faster, and not that improving their VJ will make them faster.
A variation on the VJ is the Standing Long Jump (SLJ). Again, you’ll probably find that your performance in this test correlate strongly with the vertical jump test. Here’s how to roughly gauge the level of your SLJ :
|rating||(cm)||(feet, inches)||(cm)||(feet, inches)|
|excellent||> 250||> 8′ 2.5″||> 200||> 6′ 6.5′|
|very good||241-250||7′ 11″ — 8′ 2.5″||191-200||6′ 3″ — 6′ 6.5′|
|above average||231-240||7′ 7″ — 7′ 10.5″||181-190||5′ 11.5″ — 6′ 2.5″|
|average||221-230||7′ 3″ — 7′ 6.5″||171-180||5′ 7.5″ — 5′ 11″|
|below average||211-220||6′ 11″ — 7′ 2.5″||161-170||5′ 3.5″ — 5′ 7″|
|poor||191-210||6′ 3″ — 6′ 10.5″||141-160||4′ 7.5″ — 5′ 2.5″|
|very poor||< 191||6′ 3″||< 141||< 4′ 7.5″|
Again, it’s beautifully simple and easy to perform.
As the VJ & SLJ are power & coordination exercises, it follows that you improve by training these components. Power is a measure of the unit of work divided by time – therefore working on both strength (work) and speed (time) are important. And coordination comes from practicing your timing and technique – simple deliberate practice is the key to improving this.
And on a final related note… it all transfers rather well to your skate high jump. I used to be able to do about 90cm, while the best guys could clear 120+cm on a good day. Whoopie!