Add a weighted vest to make box jumps more challenging.
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Weight vests don't tend to get as much attention as dumbbells and barbells when it comes to resistance training, but they can be an effective way to increase your strength and power. Vertical can mean one of two things in the gym world. You can either use vertical to refer to exercises that take place in the vertical plane, with your arms above your head, or moves that involve jumping vertically.
Working in the Vertical Plane
Vertical plane exercises are either pushing moves or pulling moves. Vertical presses involve pushing a weight overhead, such as in the barbell or dumbbell military press, while vertical pulls include chin-ups and lat pull-downs. Adding a weight vest to your vertical pushing exercises doesn't have much benefit -- it may tax your core muscles a little more, but will probably just make the exercise's movement more awkward. Pulling exercises are a different matter however. If body weight pull-ups and chin-ups are too easy, wear a weighted vest to increase the challenge. Trainer Al Kavadlo recommends performing a set to failure wearing the vest, then taking it off and immediately maxing out on body-weight reps.
Developing a higher vertical jump can help you in sports such as basketball, volleyball and tennis, and is also part of many athletic tests. According to kinesiologist and strength coach Sean Del Ben, weighted plyometric training has a superior effect on explosiveness than unloaded plyometric training. Wearing a weight vest for your vertical jump will boost your unweighted jump more than simply practicing jumping.
Adding in Accessories
Jumping isn't the only exercise you need to do to increase your vertical jump -- accessory moves play a big role in your program, too. New Jersey-based strength coach Joe DeFranco recommends adding depth jumps, where you step off a small box then jump as high as possible, back extensions and kettlebell swings into your routine. The weighted vest works well on all of these. It will force you to put more effort into your depth jumps, is an easier way to load back extensions than holding a plate to your chest and will increase the tension on your core muscles during swings.
Playing By The Rules
Weighted vest training isn't as simple as throwing the vest on and carrying out your normal routine. Abide by the 10 percent rule, advises Stack magazine. This means you shouldn't use a vest that weighs more than 10 percent of your body weight -- any heavier and you sacrifice power. Perform one vertical jump session each week, where you perform squat jumps or box jumps for five sets of two to three repetitions wearing the vest. Use the vest for chin-ups or pullups in your upper-body workouts, alternating between weighted reps one week and body weight the next.