Vertical jump training: definition of isometrics

Isometrics are mentioned in various vertical jumping programs as a way to build your muscular power. In this article you will learn what exactly they are and how some trainers recommend them to develop your jumping ability. Ultimately though, I cannot recommend isometrics over resistance training, due to the inability of isometric training to really overload the muscles.

Isometric Definition

Isometrics are static contractions: muscle contractions where the muscle contracts without actually moving. An isometric contraction occurs any time you hold a weight in a set position, known as an isometric performance contraction, or push/pull against an immovable entity, called an overcoming isometric contraction.

An isometric contraction will occur with each vertical jump. For the most part, this only happens for a fraction of a second from when you switch from descending to exploding. That fleeting moment when you’re not moving up or down is an isometric contraction.

Isometrics in Vertical Jump Training

At first glance, completing a static contraction seems counterproductive to advancing jumping ability, when you consider that a vertical jump is a movement, after all, not a hold. But since many vertical jump programs recommend isometrics, let’s take a closer look.

The vertical jump is an expression of muscular power. Our vertical jump formula is force (strength) times velocity (velocity) equals explosion. Strength is determined by both the size and the number of muscle fibers recruited.

Isometric training, it is postulated, is a must-have way to get your muscles to recruit more fibers. To statically hold or maximally contract against a heavy or immovable weight, your body begins to fire up and recruit more fibers to maintain that grip or intensity. This means that your contractions would start to become more neurologically efficient; Unfortunately, this doesn’t carry over to your vertical jump training, because you won’t be able to overload your muscles.

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