Is Vertical Jump Genetic

Is the ability to achieve a high vertical jump genetic? I’ll be answering that and also give some practical ways to improve your vertical jump, whether you’re genetically blessed with height and other factors in vertical jumps or not!

Is the Ability to Vertical Jump Genetic?

So, is the ability to vertical jump genetic? Well, yes. At least how high and well we can jump naturally. This would include body type, height, strength and explosiveness.

Long, lean limbs (especially legs) and being tall seems to be the ideal body type for naturally easy and high vertical jumps, especially in basketball players.

Most of this is self explanatory, but what is explosiveness, in terms of vertical jumps?

It’s the rate at which you generate force. And the more force, the higher the jump…

There is a specific set of muscles (fast twitch) that are involved in this, which I’ll explain further, shortly. Some people are born with a higher ratio of these muscle fibers.

Of course, we can’t change our height. And realistically, we can lose or gain weight, but we can only do that to the degree that our body type allows…

Don’t give up hope, though. Even though people with greater height and a certain body type have an easier time with vertical jumps, naturally, the good news is that you can train, strengthen the muscles and practice the fundamental mechanics that you’d use to jump and improve the height of your vertical jump!

What Muscles are Used For Vertical Jumps?

This is important to know because, how can you train properly for your goal, if you don’t know which muscles to train?

There are fast twitch muscles and slow twitch muscles. Fast twitch muscles, as I mentioned above, are used in explosive, short movements. Like vertical jumps…

Slow twitch muscles, as you may have guessed, are used in endurance activities, such as weightlifting.

How Do You Train These Muscles?

Of course, even though you’ll want to focus a lot on training the fast-twitch muscles, it’s still a good idea to vary your training methods and routines to avoid boredom. And, more importantly, injuries due to overtraining.

So, what exercises are commonly used to train fast twitch or explosive muscles? Plyometrics, or exercises that usually use only body weight. These exercises stretch and strengthen tendons by putting them under stress in a controlled and safe manner.

Running is one example that you don’t need special equipment for, but there are a few others that only need simple, inexpensive equipment, such as a skipping rope or a sturdy box or bench to jump up and down on.

There’s also:

Squat jumps
Star jumps
Frog jumps

To do a squat jump:

  • Stand straight with your hands at your sides, feet shoulder width apart
  • Bend at the knees and hinge at your hips (as with the first move, like you’re going to sit in a chair)
  • When your thighs are parallel to the ground, jump up and extend through your hips, knees and ankles
  • While you’re jumping, bring your legs to the side and raise your arms upwards, so you make the shape of a star
  • Land gently and bring your arms and legs back to a neutral position
  • Like with squat jumps, repeat, doing 2 sets of 5 repetitions

Frog Jumps:

Start in the same position and move through the motions as the first two exercises, up until the
extension

  • Start in the same position and move through the motions as the first two exercises, up until the extension
  • When it’s time to extend, instead of jumping up, leap forward (pretend there’s a box you’re jumping over)
  • When you land, jump forward again for about 10m or 30ft
  • Repeat 3 times

Star Jumps:

  • Stand straight with your hands at your sides, feet shoulder width apart
  • Bend at the knees and hinge at your hips (as with the first move, like you’re going to sit in a chair)
  • When your thighs are parallel to the ground, jump up and extend through your hips, knees and ankles
  • While you’re jumping, bring your legs to the side and raise your arms upwards, so you make the shape of a star
  • Land gently and bring your arms and legs back to a neutral position
  • Like with squat jumps, repeat, doing 2 sets of 5 repetitions

Bottom line? Genetics do play a part in whether you can achieve a high vertical jump. But, whatever your sport and fitness level or goals are, with realistic expectations and training, you can certainly improve your vertical jump!

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