We've seen the vertical leap test come up every so often in our gym and it may just seem like a cool thing for us to know and figure out, but there's a reason (as always) in doing this test. I draw on an article on BreakingMuscle.com, "Got Vertical? How to Measure For Explosive Strength" addressing exactly this.
When we look at weightlifters it seems counterintuitive that this group of athletes have much jumping capacity given how big some of these athletes can get. Let's get on the same page about what explosive strength is first; a basic definition is one's ability to exert a maximal amount of force in the shortest possible time interval. Several examples you may think of depicting this is: a sprinter coming off the start blocks, a pole jumper propelling his/herself over the bar, a football defensive lineman coming off the line after the snap, or a weightlifter coming out of the bottom of the clean.
Researchers have found a way of quantifying speed-strength. This explosive strength of muscles is usually estimated by a power index, expressed as follows:
J = fmax/tmax
Where "J" is the speed-strength index, "fmax" is the maximum amount of an available force (strength) of the muscles in a given movement, and "tmax" is the time needed to attain this maximum strength of the muscles.
To maximize J you naturally want a high numerator and a low denominator. From that relationship it can be deduced that the quicker you can produce your maximum strength in any muscle, the more speed strength you can display.
The formula above applies to a wide range of movements and activities aside from jumping-think about the strength and speed needed to powerfully throw a baseball or discus, or to kick a soccer ball.
The way we come to measure this in the gym is through the vertical leap test. When we jump, we recruit a great deal of eccentric spring movement (the loading of our PC and quads), quickly followed by an immediate and speedy concentric muscular contraction of the leg extensors. When we jump, the calf muscles work with the foot, which pushes you onto your toes to finish the movement. The vertical leap test is just a quick way to see the potential of your leg power. Coach Mike Burgener defines Olympic Lifts as "the vicious extension of the ankles, knees, and hips that create momentum and elevation of the barbell." Does this "vicious extension" sound familiar? It should because it happens in jumping, gymnastics, parkour, and a multitude of other movements-talk about transferability!
A. Calf Smash w BB or KB
B. High Glute Smash and Floss p.302
10 mins Vertical jump test
Hold @ top of ring push ups
10 Hang power cleans 135/95
16 OH lunges 45/25