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Vertical Jump Testing: Courtesy of Colin McIntyre

fitness testing Mar 04, 2011

Last time Colin McIntyre was visiting the Philly area he brought me this crazy contraption:

vertical jump tester

Yes, it is a finely hand crafted vertical jump tester!

Here is what Colin has to say about why he did it and where he got some ideas for how to make it:

I met Tim Morrill at the College and Club Championships this year, and he got me thinking a bit more about training and performance testing.  After the Club season ended, I ran across a post on an online forum from a guy who had built himself a vertical jump tester, and I decided to build one for myself.  I offered to build one for Melissa also, while I was at it.

The process was fairly straightforward: saw the PVC pipe into pieces, drill the paint stirrers, drill the PVC, then assemble the thing.  Of course, general workshop safety practices apply in terms of ventilation, controlling PVC dust, avoiding fumes, etc.  Attaching all the vanes to the threaded rod was a bit tedious, but overall, this was a pretty simple project that produced a reasonably good final product.  Using this thing sure beats jumping and reaching against a wall.

I set it up on an unseasonably warm day in February.   I used my barbell as a counterweight but it was a bit windy and the apparatus was not as stable as I would have preferred.  Sandbags, as Colin had suggested to me, is probably the way to go.

Some assembly was required and at first I wondered if using this contraption would be worth the effort.  My doubt dissipated with the first jump.  Having this thing is going to be so much freaking fun! It's amazing what a target will do for your motivation. Telling yourself to jump as high as you can, is one thing.   Trying to hit a paint stirrer one inch higher than the last one, is something completely different.

Previous test results

  • standing vert:  21 inches

That test was in March or April after I had been focusing on top speed and agility training.

Current test results:

  • standing vert: 20 inches
  • running start: 20 inches
  • running start off right foot: 19 inches
  • running start of left foot:  20 inches
  • standing vert off right foot:  11 inches
  • standing vert off left foot: 12 inches

What do my results mean?

The good news is that I have a nice vertical from either foot.   The most excellent news is that my vertical is symmetrical. Jumping from either foot gives the same results.  (I believe my results from the right are an inch lower dues to less mobility in my throwing shoulder.)

Because I can jump well standing I know that my strength and power production are good.  Because my jump is no different with a running start, my elasticity could use some improvement.

Now What?

As I've stated before, I have a nice vertical but don't make very good use of it on the field.  The only way I get high discs is if I have plenty of time to prepare for them.  I am terrible at timing my jump in pursuit of a huck.  I had assumed this was just a disc reading problem.   Still true.  But it's also an elasticity problem.   When I jump, I tend to squat deeper before liftoff than average and therefore need time for the setup.  If I can enhance my ability to use the stretch shortening cycle, I should be able to jump higher overall and jump with less time needed to prepare.  This is my working hypothesis anyway.

Last time Brian and I did jump rope intervals, he politely mentioned that I sound like an elephant when doing my double unders (when the rope goes under your feet twice before landing).  Whereas I have to admit, Brian sounds a lot  more like a ninja.  Landing like and elephant is not a good sign.  Not being able to land quietly is more evidence that my ability to absorb the shock of landing and rebound needs improvement.  This season I will be doing some plyometrics.

Related Posts:

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