Jumping Biomechanics & Research

By August 13, 2013 Products

If you have been paying close attention to the Strength & Conditioning Research website, you will have already seen our sprinting page. This huge resource summarizes all of the important research regarding both accelerating and maximal velocity sprint running. We included all the long-term training studies, as well as the in-depth biomechanics.

Soon we will be releasing a jumping page to accompany the sprinting page. This will further allow athletes and coaches to improve their understanding of how to maximize vertical jump height and athletic performance. 


Jumping is one of the most important athletic skills for team sports athletes and is a key element of rugby, soccer and basketball. The NFL implements a test battery at its annual combine that includes both vertical and horizontal jumps. Track & Field has a number of jumping events dedicated to it, including the long jump, high jump and triple jump.

broad jump

An athlete who can’t jump both high and far is not going to be successful in any of these sports. So how can strength and conditioning coaches help their athletes jump higher and further?

Here are the questions we will answer in our new page:

Warm ups and potentiation

  1. Do active, passive and dynamic stretches in a warm-up reduce vertical jump performance acutely?
  2. Can antagonist stretching improve jump height and peak knee extension torque?
  3. What effect do the different elements of warm-ups each have on jump performance?
  4. What is the effect of different warm-up protocols on jump performance in football players?
  5. How does the intensity of static and dynamic stretching protocols affect agility, sprinting, and jumping performance?
  6. How do rest periods and intensity affect the post-activation potentiation effect?
  7. How do warm-up protocols affect sprint and jump performance?
  8. Can elastic resistance during the eccentric phase of a countermovement jump enhance performance?
  9. Do heavy half and quarter heavy squats have a post-activation potentiation effect on vertical jumping?
  10. Does repeated jumping on an elastic surface alter leg stiffness immediately afterwards?
  11. Can the snatch pull have a post-activation potentiation effect on vertical jump performance?
  12. How does the load of back squats as a conditioning contraction affect vertical jump performance?
  13. Can moderately-loaded, concentric-only quarter squats create a post-activation potentiation effect on subsequent vertical jumps?
  14. Do vertical conditioning contractions lead to similar post-activation potentiation effects in subsequent vertical and horizontal movements?
  15. Do volume-matched low, medium and high load squat protocols lead to similar post-activation potentiation effects in subsequent vertical and horizontal movements?
  16. Do static stretching and dynamic stretching have similar effects on subsequent vertical jumping performance?
  17. How does depth affect squat jump performance?

Training studies

  1. Are complex or compound training programs better for improving vertical jump performance?
  2. Are concentric-only jump squats better than concentric-eccentric jump squats for improving vertical jump performance?
  3. Is Olympic weightlifting better than traditional resistance training for improving vertical jump in collegiate football players?
  4. Is Olympic weightlifting better than powerlifting for improving vertical jump in high-school football players?
  5. Is the VertiMax useful for improving vertical jump performance?
  6. Are un-weighted plyometrics or weighted plyometrics better for improving vertical jump in basketball players?
  7. Can a plyometrics program improve sprint running performance?
  8. Do isometric exercises change tendon stiffness and thereby reduce countermovement jump performance?
  9. Do unilateral and bilateral plyometric exercises have different effects on jumping ability?
  10. Does heavy load training lead to different jumping ability gains than light load training?
  11. Is Olympic weightlifting better than kettlebell training for improving vertical jump?
  12. Do heavy load, light load and plyometric training methods lead to different jumping ability gains?
  13. Can incline plyometrics can the optimal length of the calf muscles and improve vertical jump height?
  14. Are quarter squats better or worse than parallel squats for improving jumping performance?
  15. Which type of training improves vertical jump most in professional rugby players: assisted, resisted, or free countermovement jumps?
  16. Is low, moderate or high volume plyometric best for jumping and sprinting performance gains?
  17. Does training with light loads improve drop jump performance more than training with heavy loads?
  18. Do Olympic weightlifting and machined-based training both cause increased knee muscle-coactivation?
  19. Can plyometric and isometric training alter tendon properties and rate of force development?
  20. Is Olympic weightlifting better than plyometrics for improving vertical jump in recreationally-trained subjects?
  21. Does hamstring stretching affect sprinting or jumping performance?
  22. Can resistance training alter hip and knee joint angles in drop landings?
  23. Which is best for improving vertical jump: squat, plyometric or squat-plyometric training?
  24. Do unilateral and bilateral lower-body resistance training programs improve unilateral and bilateral vertical jump similarly?
  25. How do plyometric, Olympic weightlifting, and combined programs affect the biomechanics of the vertical jump?

Biomechanics, modeling, attentional focus, and reviews

  1. Is jumping performance affected by whether the athlete jumps with a hip-dominant or a knee-dominant technique?
  2. Which exercise produces EMG activity of the lower body muscles that is most similar to the countermovement jump – the squat or deadlift?
  3. Can athletes jump half as high with one-leg as they can on two-legs?
  4. What do we know about training for jumping with a run-up?
  5. Do maximal jumps from different starting postures reach a similar height?
  6. How do the biomechanics of drop jumps from different heights differ?
  7. How are the joint angles of maximal and submaximal vertical jumps different?
  8. Does muscle activity follow a proximal to distal pattern in vertical jumping?
  9. Does plyometric training improve vertical jump height performance?
  10. Can elite sprinters jump higher than sub-elite sprinters?
  11. How does the biomechanics of horizontal and vertical jumps differ?
  12. Does performance of hang power clean differentiate jumping, sprinting, and changing of direction?
  13. Does plyometric training improve vertical jump height?
  14. How does dropping height affect the biomechanics of drop jumping?
  15. Is drop jumping effective as a training method for jumping ability?
  16. Does the time it takes to develop muscle stimulation affect rate of force development during vertical jumping?
  17. Can external attentional focus improve performance in the standing long jump?
  18. What effect does forward trunk inclination have on joint powers during vertical jumping?
  19. Are hang cleans or squats better for post-activation potentiation for vertical jumps?
  20. Do hex-bar deadlift jumps produce a greater power output than jump squats?
  21. Does muscle strengthening increase vertical jump height?
  22. What is the bilateral deficit in vertical jumping?
  23. What biomechanical factor best predicts vertical jump performance?
  24. How significant is tendon elasticity during ankle joint movements?
  25. Does external focus increase vertical jump height and reduce EMG activity?
  26. What is the influence of the knee extensor tendons on vertical jump performance?
  27. How does dorsiflexion affect vertical jump performance?
  28. How do preactivity and eccentric muscle activity affect vertical jump performance?
  29. How does training background affect jumping height?
  30. Is the effect of a countermovement on jump height due to active state development?
  31. Is knee stiffness a major determinant of leg stiffness during maximal hopping?
  32. What is the maximum dynamic output hypothesis?
  33. How does leg stiffness increase with increasing hopping frequency?
  34. Does elastic energy stored during pre-stretch explain the difference in height between a countermovement and a squat jump?
  35. How large are peak vertical ground reaction forces during landing from a jump?
  36. What is the difference between horizontal and vertical jumps?
  37. In what sequence are the leg muscles activated during vertical jumping?
  38. Does foot inclination affect vertical jump performance?
  39. What is the optimal loading for maximizing power output in vertical jumps?
  40. Which bilateral plyometric exercises lead to the greatest stresses?
  41. Can plyometric intensity be quantified using eccentric rate of force development and knee joint reaction forces?
  42. Can net relative vertical impulse predict jump height in jump squats?
  43. Is hopping modulated to be as efficient as possible?
  44. Does the storage of elastic energy explain the difference in jump heights between counter-movement and squat jumps?
  45. Is the optimal load for power output during jump squats identical in both trained and untrained subjects?
  46. Are the lower body muscles similarly involved in sub-maximal and maximal jumps?
  47. How does an appreciation of elastic energy storage affect strength and conditioning practices?
  48. How much does rate of force development affect vertical jump performance?
  49. Does gaining bodyweight automatically mean a reduction in vertical jump performance?
  50. Why do people jump the way they do?


  1. How does arm swing improve jumping performance?
  2. By how much does arm swing improve jumping performance?
  3. Are vertical ground reaction forces similar in jumps with and without arm swing?
  4. How does arm motion enhance vertical jump performance?
  5. How does arm swing increase vertical jump performance?

Sprinting & jumping relationships

  1. Can countermovement jump height predict sprint running performance?
  2. Which jump test best predict sprint running performance in the acceleration phase?
  3. Can horizontal jumping performance predict long distance running ability?
  4. Is drop jump performance correlated with sprinting ability in track sprinters?
  5. What is the relationship between acceleration in vertical jumps and sprint running performance during the acceleration phase?
  6. What is the relationship between jumping performances and sprint running performance during the maximum speed phase?
  7. Can the results of the jumping tests in the National Football League combine predict the results of the sprinting tests?
  8. Can half squat 1RM predict 5m sprint performance in soccer players?
  9. Which jump variables should be used to assess explosive leg muscle function?

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  • Andy... says:

    I find it really interesting why nobody hasn’t jumped further than Jonathan Edwards & Mike Powell in over 20 years, or higher than Javier Sotomayor in round about the same time frame, (1993).

    • Andy... says:

      Maybe it has something to do with the fact that many of the studies above correlate in favour of tendon stiffness (rendering your elastic potential useless).

  • Carl Valle says:


    Look at the research over the last 12 years. Approach velocity maters as you can’t jump 9 meters if running at 10 meters per second. Also the 100m pays.

  • EG says:

    Hey Bret,

    Any info on the Vertimax? Studies or preliminary data?

    My son is trying to increase his vertical leap.

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