We all want to improve our play as quickly as possible. One of the challenges in modern sport is it’s often complex to take science and apply the findings to get an immediate performance improvement. Arm swing is one situation that bucks this trend. Here’s a short note on how to jump higher using your arm swing.

How do you use your arms when jumping?

The answer to this question tends to be intuitive – “Well, I throw my arms up to jump up”.  But is this actually the most effective way to use your arms to increase your vertical jump?

I’ve shared the basic mechanics that govern jump height a lot before, if you haven’t had a look you can find more about improving your vertical jump herehere and here. There are 3 factors at play; the amount of force you apply to the floor, the length of time you apply that force, and the amount of mass that needs lifting up. Obviously, arm swing has very little effect on the 3rdfactor, but can affect the amount and duration of force you apply.

Jump Higher: To jump up, we need to push down. Hard.

Perhaps counter-intuitively, being able to create force down determines how high you can jump up. Using Newton’s 3rdlaw to good effect. Based on that, the focus of your arm swing should be to maximize downward force, not upward, to jump higher.

Imagine you’re throwing a rubber ball and trying to make it bounce as high as you can. The harder you throw the ball down, the higher it will bounce up.

If the ground is hard, prepare with your arms behind the body and aggressively swing into the ground. As long as your body is robust enough to control the force you apply, you should expect to fly.

It might take a bit of practice, but you can try this immediately with no complex equipment or even additional training, and begin to add to your vertical jump using science straight away. Good luck, and enjoy flying higher!

Gary

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