Your vertical jump height has more to do with your body-fat percentage than your weight. Factors such as your leg power and technique are more influential on your jump height. For instance, the body mass index (BMI) cannot distinguish between lean muscle mass and fat. Therefore, an individual with a lot of muscle will appear overweight on a BMI. When it comes to improving your jump height, you should focus on reducing your body fat and improving your core strength.
Body Fat Effect on Jump Height
Weight is a non-issue when it comes to your jump height. A 160-pound man with lean muscle mass and a 160-pound man with a high body-fat percentage are the same weight but will have different vertical jump heights because of the difference in strength. "The Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences” published a study in 2013 in which body weight was taken into account to predict the vertical jump height of martial arts athletes. Several skin-fold tests were used to measure the 54 participants' body-fat percentages. The researchers concluded that body fat had a negative effect on jump height and reducing body fat with a healthy diet will improve leg power.
Reducing Body-Fat Percentage
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) states that weight loss does not necessarily lead to reducing your body-fat percentage. ACE recommends aerobic exercise, resistance training and a healthy diet. Choose meals composed of lean protein such as salmon, complex carbs such as vegetables and fruits, seeds and nuts. Perform half-hour aerobic sessions such as running three times a week and strength training with weights twice a week. For fitness, men require a body-fat percentage between 14 to 17 percent, while women require a percentage between 21 and 14 percent
Core Strengthening Improves Vertical Jump
Your core consists of your mid to lower back, hips, front and side abdominals, obliques and upper leg muscles. “The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness” published a study in 2012 that studied the effect of core muscle strengthening on vertical jump performances. The study participants were 40 state-level volleyball players with torso instability. After nine weeks of core strengthening, the researchers found that the exercise regimen improved stability and the vertical jump.
Certified fitness experts Greg Robins and Jamie Smith recommend squat jumps along with the barbell squats and depth jumps as effective exercises to increase your vertical jump. Stand and position your feet hip-width apart. Pull your shoulder blades down, arch your back slightly and flex your abdominal muscles. Shift your hips down and keep your knees slightly bent. Bend your hips forward as you descend and position your hands in the opposite direction of your knees for balance. Continue to lower yourself until it feels like your heels want to lift from the floor. Perform the jump by simultaneously extending your ankles, knees and hips. Jump vertically not forward and land gently on your mid-foot. Perform five repetitions in three to five sets with 60 to 90 seconds of recovery between sets.
- The Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences: Prediction of Vertical Jump Height From Anthropometric Factors in Male and Female Martial Arts Athletes
- American Council on Exercise: What Are the Guidelines for Percentage of Body Fat Loss?
- The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness: Effects Of A Nine-week Core Strengthening Exercise Program On Vertical Jump Performances And Static Balance In Volleyball Players With Trunk Instability.
- Men's Fitness: Basketball Skill Training: Increase Your Vertical Jump
- American Council on Exercise: Squat Jumps
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