Exercises and tips to improve vertical relaxation

 How to improve your vertical relaxationJump higher… Rise more with each leap… It is not only basketball players who seek to optimize their relaxation: athletics, martial art, gym, volleyball, rollerblading… Several disciplines require that the practitioner cultivate a certain explosive force .

Each sport has its method, adapted to the actions which are specific to it. To see more clearly, here is a small summary of what you need to know about this type of exercise: anatomical reminders, instructions, exercises, advice and "tips" to know to improve your dry relaxation.

Exercises and tips to improve vertical relaxation

Jumping: the muscles that come into play

No mysteries. Among the muscles used during the jump, we find… the legs. More particularly the extensor muscles: quadriceps, lateral peroneus, triceps sural and glutes.

To gain in dry relaxation, it will therefore be necessary to train these muscles AND their antagonists (the muscles which make it possible to do the opposite movement): to avoid any imbalance and any injury but also because this promotes reactive explosive force.

Another important point that we do not always realize: the abdominal strap is also stressed. We will therefore add abdominals AND core exercises to the program.

But before seeing the  program, let's take a look at:

  1. The different types of exercises
  2. The first thing to do before training
  3. Security instructions

1. The different types of exercises 

There are four types of muscle contraction, which correspond to as many specific exercises.

  • Concentric  : the muscle shortens. The force produced is greater than the force required to support the weight of the muscle. Example: a jump without momentum. The extra force produced helps lift the body.
  • Eccentric  : the muscle is subjected to the force and lengthens to absorb the shock. Example: reception after a fall. Exercises that cause this type of contraction help increase your explosive reactive strength.

(Explosive strength is the ability to achieve maximum strength and power in a minimum of time. It is reactive when fueled by a reaction movement, during a plyometric exercise for example)

  • Isometric  : the muscle produces force but its length does not change. Example: Maintain a position to resist a load. (exercise of the chair against a wall)

These exercises increase muscle stiffness and prepare for plyometric exercises.

  • Plyometric  : phase of eccentric contraction followed by a phase of reflex and conscious concentric contraction. Example: jump down followed by a vertical jump.

NB  : During a plyometric movement, the concentric contraction phase makes it possible to produce 150 to 200% more force compared to a conventional concentric contraction (not preceded by an eccentric contraction)

These exercises are very effective but require good physical condition before being performed: the risk of injury is much higher and it is important to respect the rest periods.

These exercises are simply out of the question if you have any joint problems.

2. The first thing to do before training

Any training program should start with a measurement of your current performance: to savor the fruits of the training but also to avoid bad judgments afterwards: from " Wow, I have improved a lot  " to "  I'm sure that I'm even worse now than when I started…  ”

This test, which measures the concentric force, is to be repeated every 4 weeks.


Legs bent, knees 90 °


  • Without gaining momentum (without bending down) jump as high as possible, arm outstretched
  • Measure the difference between the height reached by the arm when you are in the starting position (outstretched arm) and that reached during the jump
  • Perform three jumps: the measurement chosen will be the highest of the three
  • A jump is only valid if you land in exactly the same place as in your starting position

3. Safety instructions

  • The physical preparation for the jumps is quite exhausting for the body: The plyometric exercise sessions must be spaced three days apart and, unless otherwise indicated by your coach or your trainer, no plyometrics with loads!
  • Who says "jumping exercise" says "comfortable shoes, able to absorb shocks and properly support the ankle".
  • Are you looking for the miracle solution to boost your relaxation? Here it is: build muscle, jump, rest. To this, we add the essentials: stretching, sleeping and eating.
  • In the same way that we don't sprint on the heels, we do not jump on the heels but on the tiptoes.

The benefits of sprinting

Do sprints  : 20, 40, 60 or 80 meters. Sprints are a great way to build explosive strength in the lower limbs. Vary the types of sprint: uphill, climbing stairs, etc. These exercises will allow you to quickly increase your explosive strength potential.

When you are good at sprinting , add a new exercise: Do 10 vertical jumps while standing, then sprint for 30 meters as soon as the last jump is finished. Start with 5 sets and work your way up to 10.

Depending on your level, after a few weeks you should reach a plateau and start to stagnate: it's time to move on to new exercises.

Muscle calves

These exercises make it easy to develop the calf muscles: these muscles strengthen very quickly, especially if you used them little until now.

  1. Standing position. Do thirty vertical jumps without bending the knees in order to only work the calves. Start with two sets of 30 then gradually work your way up to 5 sets of 40. Reminder: we jump on tiptoes! Not on the heels.

If it is the thighs that you need to work, conversely bend your knees as much as possible on each jump, but without going beyond the position where your thighs are parallel to the ground.

  • Stand up, lift your heels off the ground and rise as high as possible on your tiptoes, come back down and put your heel on the ground. Start with two sets of 60 climbs then gradually increase.
  • Same exercise as before, but this time, hold the high position for about ten seconds and do not put your heel on the ground when you come back down. For the first time, three sets of 4 climbs. The goal is to get to 60.
  • As soon as you can, practice walking on your tiptoes, without putting your heel on the floor.

Train the thighs

Squat, exercise in the chair for 30s followed by a vertical jump, electrostimulation…  there is no lack of means . But the concentric power of the quadriceps is not enough! You also need to develop their flexibility and not just for a matter of power / elasticity balance: power is useless if it cannot be used.

For this it is necessary to develop flexibility (elasticity of the muscle) and proprioception (ability to "order" the muscles to contract quickly).

An example of exercises to work on the flexibility of the quadriceps:

  • Kneeling, back straight, tiptoes outstretched and hands resting on the floor behind you
  • Gently lean back (keeping your back flat) and push your pelvis upwards until you feel the thigh muscles tighten. Maintain the position for 15 s.

The unavoidable

  • The jump rope  is the best way to improve your relaxation in the first few weeks ... as long as you keep your stomach tucked in and the sheathing maintained during the jumps! train until you can hold 10 minutes a day.
  • As said above, you have to work your abs  to be effective with each jump.

    For the same reasons, core exercises are essential: For the abs but also for the back and buttocks.

    • Some jumps

    A great way to practice jumping is… to jump.

    1. Standing, jump with feet together raising the knees AND keeping the back straight. Start with 15 jumps.
    2. Standing, visualize (or mark with rope) a square. Place yourself in its center. By jumping with both feet, exit and enter this square. Start with sets of 50 jumps and gradually increase the number of jumps and the size of the square.
    3. Right leg placed stretched forward. Left leg placed (flexed) back. Jump as high as possible and reverse the position of the legs in the air. On landing, start again immediately. Begin with sets of 10 repetitions and alternate the leg placed forward in each set.
    4. In Bend Position: Legs bent, feet flat on the floor (heels slightly raised), back straight, arms crossed over chest. Do 10 short jumps (just to lift your feet off the ground). Finish with an 11th jump as high as possible, arms still crossed. Gradually increase the number of jumps until you reach 20 jumps.
    5. Right foot resting flat on a chair, right leg bent and left leg extended. Push off with the right leg and jump as high as possible. Land with the left foot resting flat on the chair and the right leg extended.

    Plyometric exercises

    To chain jumps while giving all its importance to the reception and the rebound energy that it allows, it is already plyometrics. Here are other exercises to go further.

    • With your back against a wall, bend your legs until your thighs are parallel to the floor: keep your back against the wall and your head straight. Hold for 30 seconds then do 10 vertical jumps. Start with 5 sets.
    • Standing, high (from a chair for example) jump down, cushion by bending the legs then jump as high as possible.

    These exercises should allow you to strengthen yourself, but you must not forget that they will only give you strength, power and proprioception: depending on the discipline you practice, you will have to perform a precise gesture. Depending on whether you play basketball, volleyball, or karate, you won't jump the same way.

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