[Content by Loren Landow and Eric Bach]
When it comes to training for improved performance, transfer of performance and minimizing injury is what it’s all about.
When it comes to jumps, we’re talking about a directly applicable skill in most sports.
Furthermore, jumps are an awesome display of relative strength, power, and raw athleticism.
In this post, we’ll review the difference between countermovement and static jumps, showing you how to implement each type for maximal performance.

Countermovement Vs. static Jumps

Counter-movement and static jumps might look similar, but the subtle differences are important.
Think of static-jumps as a  jump that shows static explosiveness and strength.
A counter-movement jump displays an explosive transition from eccentric (negative) to concentric (positive or going up) and displays the ability to absorb, reverse, and generate force.
Build a Foundation with Static Jumps First
Per the comparision between static and countermovement jumps above, static jumps are the foundation skill whereas the countermovement adds complexity to your jumps.
First and foremost it’s important to ensure proper landing mechanics (covered below). Your athletes must earn the right to progress to countermovement jumps by landing each jump in safe position and full hip extension.
Jump Landing Mechanics
It doesn’t matter how hard you train—without attention to the body and joint mechanics, you’re grooving mechanics that open the door for injury to sideline your training. When it comes to jumping, the most important factor is grooving landing mechanics to prevent injury. By practicing sound mechanics on every jump you’ll reinforce good behaviors to take place in more chaotic, stressful environments like sports.
Look for the following:
  • Feet should be flat, rather than anterior weight displacement on the toes to allow an even distribution of forces.
  • Knees should be neutral, rather than in valgus or varus (diving in or diving out). This prevents the likelihood of knee injuries.
  • Abs braced: any rounding of the back and trunk shows a power leak that will cascade down the kinetic chain and place stress on the hips, knees, ankles, and feet while minimizing your jump height.
  • Eyes up, chest Up: If your head and drop drop when landing you’ll lose trunk engagement. As a result, your mechanics will be faulty down the kinetic chain, injury the risk for injury. When applying training directly to sport, landing with your eyes down will get you lit up by your opponents.
  • Pause and momentarily hold position at the top of the jump to reinforce optimal joint position.
Ensure Full Hip Extension
Specific adaptations occur based on the imposed demands, so if you want to improve your jumping performance, you must maximize hip extension for best results. Without full hip extension, you’ll limit the carryover to explosive lifts and athletic events, thus minimizing the training effect.
Two Jumping Methods to Elite Athleticism
Leave your ego at the door and look for a joint stacked position and alignment between the hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, and ear for full extension. 
Testing the Difference:
All this information is great, but what use is it if you can’t use it?
Luckily, we have a solution.
By testing your vertical jump with both a static and countermovement jump you can gain insight onto the limiting factors with your athletes.
What you Do:
Measure your reach and perform a countermovement jump and a static jump.
If your static jump is higher, it’s likely your athlete needs to  improve explosiveness and moving sub-maximal loads faster.
If your countermovement jump is higher, absolute overcoming strength may be your limiting factor. In this case, look to improve maximal strength and strength-speed to further enhance jumping ability.
What if they’re the same?
In this case incorporate both static and countermovement jumps into training based on the demands of your athletes’ sport.
Wrapping It Up
Jumping is an essential movement for sports performance and the easiest method to improve explosiveness. That said, the degree of improvement you’ll make with jump training is directly related to the intent and execution of each jump, meaning it’s best to focus on high quality reps, rather than endless volume.  Reinforce optimal mechanics, lift heavy, lift explosively, and jump based on the demands of your athletes sport for the greatest improvements in performance.

Take the first step. Then let us take over.

For most people, getting started is the hardest thing. Figuring out what to do first. Overcoming inertia. Taking that first step into the unknown.

At Elite Sports Services, we know that all too well. In fact, through our work with coaches and practitioners, we’ve helped thousands improve their coaching ability to improve performance and their business.

But the first step always begins with you. If you’re ready to learn more, coach more, and be more, we’re here to help.

In fact, Coach Loren Landow now has phase 1 and phase 2 of his sought after Mentorship. To learn more about the course and to see if you’re a good fit, head here: Train to Win Phase One and Phase Two.

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