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Why Vertical Jump Is Good For MMA Fitness

Why Vertical Jump Is Good For MMA Fitness

I know the title of this post probably got your attention which is why I am going to get into the details of what all is involved in having some major “UPs” when it comes to your vertical jump. I am always amazed at how fixated young basketball players are on increasing their vertical jump.

Don’t get me wrongI know that Michael Jordan started it all with his leap from the free throw line in the slam dunk contest many years ago. I remember seeing that when I was kid and yes I was impressed just as much as any other teenager at the time. However, as I’ve gotten older and have developed an understanding of what builds on human performance I can tell you that I have seen some equally impressive (if not more impressive) vertical jumping ability from other athletes as well, namely MMA fighters!

Vertical Jump Leg Power BJ Penn

As a strength coach I can tell you first hand that this display of a vertical jump coming out of a pool requires some significant leg power and core strength development in order to pull it off. The truth is that a display of power production such as the one BJ Penn just achieved can carryover quite well into any athletic arena, as well as the ring.

You see the reason I wanted to discuss the vertical jump here in this article is that it is a significant measure of leg power. Granted there are several ways to measure leg power, but the vertical jump is certainly a solid variable to consider when looking at the ability of a fighter to perform in the ring. After all the more force production that can be generated by a fighter either in the legs, or arms is going to significantly contribute to hand and foot speed which will no doubt translate to greater striking ability. 

The truth is that there are many factors that go into improving your vertical jump and more than likely you you haven’t tapped into all of your potential resources to achieve optimal results unless you also happen to be a strength coach or trainer yourself. Like anything else in life improving your vertical jump requires persistence and the ability to execute an intelligent plan of action.  

Factors That Influence Your Vertical Jump:

-Body Composition: You can’t be fat and expect to get the rim, or jump out of the pool. 

-Power Production: You’ve got to be able to generate force at a given rate of speed. The vertical jump is about overcoming gravity and this is the only way here on planet earth. 

-Programming: This involves how you get there with everything. This involves everything in your athletic athletic universe. 

-Flexibility: You’ve got to be able to move your joints in a complete range of motion (ROM)

-Nutrition: Once again, a leaner body composition is better for being lighter, stronger, and better able to recover from the rigors of training. 

-Resources: Strength coaches, programs, education materials. 

-Commitment: Are you getting better 1% daily? 

-Time: Refer to commitment.

-Genetics: It is what it is…we can’t change this. 

The point of this is that basically you should work on the overall development of your athletic ability.  The vertical jump is something that is going to be relevant in terms of power production and how you go about developing it is relevant to every sport, especially for your MMA and fight skills. 

To elaborate more on this specifically…in Muay Thai we have a front kick that is executed by generating a significant amount of force from the hips. Being able to use the hip as a fulcrum while extending your kicking leg into your opponent can send him or her literally flying out of the ring! I’ve seen this firsthand from some of my very own fight students. This is possible because we work on developing leg power and improving the vertical for this very reason. 

The point is that there has to be a significant amount of force production to pull this off which is why the need for power is just as crucial for the MMA athlete. 

The bottom line is that there is no one and done single element that will improve your vertical jump. Like anything else you’ve got to be committed to getting better at it over time. You have to direct your focus to improving and developing speed, agility, power, and strength in order to achieve a higher vertical jump.

The Takeaway From Developing Vertical Jump

All in all, you need to consider how your programming is structured to enhance your athletic performance and how to go about developing enough leg power to improve your vertical jumping ability. Whether you front kick someone into the front row in MMA or crash the boards on the basketball court your need for power production is essential. The only way to get it is to consistently follow a good plan of action in order to develop this skill. 

Are you currently focusing on improving your vertical jump for your MMA and fight performance? 

Are you looking for a way to improve your kicking power and leg power? 

Post up in the comments below and tell us about it. 

Also if you want to learn how to tie these together then make sure you check out my brand new 90 Day MMA Strength And Conditioning Program right here below! I guarantee it’ll get you into the best shape of your life, or I’ll give you your money back no questions asked.


Brandon Richey Fitness strength student and IKF Women's National champion Victoria Debroux standing with her arms crossed showing off her championship beltIt’s changing lives already!


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I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

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