Aloha CAMPers, we’ve all done it before, whether it was in junior high P.E. or at your NFL pro day testing…the broad jump or standing long jump. It is one of the most commonly used movements to test an athlete’s lower body strength and explosive power. Not only used as a test, but correctly implemented into a workout program the broad jump movement can be a highly functional way to improve overall athletic performance.
The biggest benefit of the broad jump is that it helps athletes improve lower body power. Being categorized as a plyometric exercise, the broad jump will give you the same benefits as plyometrics such as, leg strength/power, acceleration, balance, and even bone density (especially in younger athletes.) Now let’s go over what is going on throughout the broad jump movement.
First the athlete gets set up into what we call an “athletic stance,” feet shoulder width apart, good posture, with knees slightly bent. Next, the athlete will squat down, keeping good posture, throwing their arms back. As the athlete gets into the squat position, they are now putting their muscles into a stretched position. In this part of the movement the athlete is beginning to go through the stretch-shortening cycle, which gives an athlete the “rubber band effect,” potentially helping them spring forward with the maximal amount of force that the particular athlete can generate. As the athlete goes through a full extension of the hip, knee, and ankle joints while simultaneously throwing their arms forcefully forward, the athlete propels their body through the air. At the end of the jump the athlete will then quickly flex the hips, knees, and ankle joints while trying to land softly in a balanced athletic position.
If you got any type of mental picture from the description of this movement, you would’ve noticed that the broad jump almost directly correlates with sprinting. Therefore, if we can improve our broad jump there is a potential for improving our sprint technique.
One way to improve your broad jump is to simply perfect the movement. Repetition with full exertion on every rep is one of the simplest and most effective exercises an athlete can perform. Another way to improve your broad jump is by adding resistance to the movement. The use of bungees to add resistance is another effective way for improvement in the broad jump, as long as the athlete is conscious of their technique. There are lots of other methods to specifically improve an athlete’s broad jump but, as long as they are going through a well balanced training program with the correct coaching their possibilities are endless.
CAMP, Building Better Athletes LLC