A common limiting factor in athlete’s jump is elasticity in their muscles. To get the best jump you want to be able to
- Have the right form (jump correctly)
- Have the right strength
- Have the right conditioning
Becoming more flexible helps with point #1. If you are unable to crouch properly because your hips, quads, or ankles are tight, you won’t be able to get into the optimial pre-jump stance which allows you to spring upward.
If your feet and ankles are not elastic enough, you won’t get the full range of motion that helps you maximize your spring. You can think about this like a bow and arrow (traditional, not the modern bows with multiple gears and levers). Bows that have the right strength + flexibility are able to send the arrow the furthest. The flexibility is a key part. It allows the bow to hold more tension without breaking (potential energy) and optimal spring back.
First work on increasing your range of motion through stretching.
Then work on strength at the extremities. Do this lightly, especially at first.
- Hips – deeper lounges or squats at low weight
- Quads – same as above
- Calves – focus on the beginning (when ankle angle is small and toes are pointed up) and on the end (when ankle angle is biggest and toes are pointed down)
- Feet – do some sand or grass running to strengthen your feet. You can also do some simple toe / foot strengthening exercises on the ground as shown below.