Question: My volleyball coach recommended that I do squats and jump with the bar on my back at the end of each rep. It bothers my back. What else can I do to improve my vertical?
Answer: Doing jump squats with weight on your back tends to bother most people either in their knees, back or both. If you’re going to do them, we do here, we use resistance bands because of their variable resistance properties that reduce the force of impact. Single leg squats are a good exercise for explosiveness. The key to this exercise is to keep the resistance centered in the hips by not leaning forward and to keep an open stance. The wider stance stretches both your hip flexors more and the quad of the leg that is on the bench. You also should spend time working hamstrings and glutes with leg curls and stiff-leg deadlifts, RDL’s. Calf work is essential to a more explosive vertical. You should do standing calf raises and focus on driving from the ball of your foot. Remember that ballet dancers are very explosive and possess tremendous vertical so drive each rep as high as you can. It’s not the heavy resistance that is needed. It’s explosive resistance. Also do single leg hops onto a platform beginning with a four inch hop and adding height as you progress. If you’re doing standard squats, do a set of six to eight reps followed immediately by three to four Plyometric jumps. These are just some of the techniques we use for a more explosive vertical to avoid barbell jump squats.
God bless and keep training,