At Freak Strength we train a wide variety of athletes who play a wide range of sports. Since we’ve opened we’ve gotten a large female population coming through the gym…mostly volleyball, soccer, and softball with a few track athletes in there as well. Now we know that no two athletes are the same, and that holds true when one of the differences between the two is male and female. However…I have noticed an exception in a lot of cases to that “rule”.
The exception is when it comes to jump training. We have found that a large portion of our athletes have no idea how to jump. “How can that be?” you must be asking in shocked amazement. “Everyone can jump” you’re probably saying. And you would be correct…technically everyone CAN jump, but are they doing it correctly with proper technique? More importantly how are they landing?
Attaining more female athletes has given us the opportunity to hone in how we train all our athletes when jumps are involved. We’ve noticed even our male athletes are having issues with knees caving in both in the jump phase as well as the landing phase of the action. So what do we do?
Well for starters we don’t just have our guys jump without building the base. Just like you would with any movement, whether it is squat, bench, deadlift, we make sure our athletes are ready to jump. We build their eccentric strength to enable them to absorb the forces necessary to stick a good landing. We build their maximal strength to ensure they can apply higher forces and improve their capacity for a high rate of force development. We also ensure they have the mobility necessary to perform a good jump. Then we break the action down and ensure each part the movement is performed efficiently. We don’t progress until the athlete shows mastery.
This seems like common sense, no? But so often I see video’s of athletes performing jumps with terrible form and it makes me cringe. Does it look cool to have your athlete perform a 50 plus inch box jump? Sure does. But what good is it really if that athlete ends up injured eventually performing the action in a game setting because you never made sure they knew how to jump? So many people are focused on the end result that they ignore the little things. Any wonder why RG3 has had knee issues?
It’s not sexy to spend time with an athlete making sure their knees don’t cave in during the take off portion of a jump or during a landing, but it may help keep them playing and at the end of the day…THAT’S YOUR JOB! Make your athletes understand why it’s important and they’ll buy in. Don’t just have your athletes perform jumps, have them perform them correctly…train smarter!
Have you had knee problems? Are you rehabbing from injury? Come check us out. Our whole staff can help you get back better and stronger. We also have the NY Giants Asst. Head Athletic Trainer, Steve Kennelly, on staff and he is a master when it comes to ACL rehab and post rehab training.