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07/10/2013 Uncategorized

Training for Standing Broad Jump at Home with Kettlebells

*Disclaimer: Please be responsible for your own health and training. Watch out for warning signs during training and do not push your body over the limit. The aim of exercise is to aid in daily activity and not impede it. Stronger good, injured bad. If you have any comments, do drop me a message at hello@movementfirst.sg

Summary

Training with a heavy kettlebell for swings with lesser reps (less than 15 each time) and doing front squats with the same kettlebell will improve your standing broad jump. This is due to the similarity in technique and specific strength in both movements.

SBJ

Technique training comes before strength training in the same session as muscles have to be fresh for technique training.

Training programme for technique: Jump forward 8 times landing gently into a squat. After each jump, think how you could have made the jump better. Then jump backwards 8 times, each time landing into a squat. Also be reflexive about this.

Training programme for strength: Swing heavy kettlebell till fatigued, ideally it should be less than 15 swings. Repeat 3 more times. Front squat with kettlebell till fatigued, also ideally for less than 15 times. Repeat 3 more times. Using a lighter kettlebell, do walking lunges till fatigued, repeat 3 more times .

As this is essentially a strength training programme, you should feel soreness the next day in your muscles (not joints). Please rest for around 2 days before resuming this programme. If the weight gets too light, try doing a measurement jump, you will definitely see improvement. And yes, it is then time to upgrade your weight.

How to choose kettlebell weight

New lifters should get the weight as follows:

For male body weight around 60kg : 16kg for swings, 12kg for lunges.
For male body weight 70kg & above: 20kg for swings, 16kg for lunges
For female body weight around 40kg : 8kg for swings, 6kg for lunges
For female body weight 50kg & above : 12kg for swings, 8kg for lunges

To buy Movement First’s AUKL certified kettlebells, please visit our online store here.

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For those who want the full story….

Are you one of those who can run marathons, complete many pull ups or excel at your sport, but yet cannot jump to save your life during IPPT? Don’t worry, you are not alone.  I remember during my short stint in OCS, many cadets had late night RTs simply jumping around the perimeter of the parade square! Yet, sadly, that may not be the complete answer to doing well in SBJ.

A little on my background. I grew up in Punggol, which was a underdeveloped part of Singapore then. I jumped across drains and climbed pillars as a kid. Hence, jumping was never a problem for me. During NS, on a bad day, I can jump 240, and a good day, 250. Yet, this was also my plateau, I could never bypass 260. Perhaps because the limit of gold is above 242cm, I placed a mental limit on myself that I am good enough. Long story short, I got involved with people in strength sports and started doing lots of deadlifts and squats. On a normal day, while running in a park with SBJ markings, I did a casual jump and BOOM! I jumped a 280 with ease. Yes, so deadlifts and squats helped me a lot, but how do we replicate this training for a home user, without barbells and weight plates?

There are two reasons for people failing SBJ. Firstly, lack of technique and the lack of specific muscle strength. I learn from many people, and Coach Jon from Genesis Gym provides good instruction in this.

Technique:

As you can see from the video, the technique for jumping off can be summarized in 3 photographs. Think of your body as a spring, you want to stretch it as much as possible, load it with tension, and then release the tension, which allows you to jump as far forward as possible.

1. Stretch upwards.

1a 

2. Load the posterior chain, specifically the lower back and the hamstrings.

2a

 

3. Explode forward with 45 degree angle.

3a

Strength Training for SBJ:

The two main exercises that contributed to my improvements in SBJ would be deadlifts and front squats. Deadlifts mimics the posterior chain loading and the hip drive required in standing broad jump. Front squats develops the quadriceps, which is important in creating power for more distance. The main advantage of front squats is that it achieves the same muscle activation with less weight (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/19002072/).

There is no doubt deadlifts and front squats can improve SBJ (also known as standing long jump in academic journals), but how do we mimic the same type of training with greater cost and space efficiency compared to owning a set of barbell, weight plates and rack? With kettlebells!

For deadlifts, they can be replaced with kettlebell swings, which work the posterior chain in a similar manner like deadlifts. Unlike deadlifts, kettlebell swings also have a high transferability in both technique (loading of muscles, position of hands) and strength (hip drive, 45 degree forward momentum). The below image illustrates my points.

SBJ

For front squats, simply hold the kettlebell by the handles upside down, and squat.

7a 8a

You can also rack the bell by its handle, and then squat.

9a

10a

The SBJ is essentially a combination of technique and maximal strength. Therefore, you should build for more weight, but less repetitions. The kettlebell used must be heavy, and it should make you thoroughly fatigued after not more than 15 reps. For example, I weigh 60kg, and I use a 24kg kettlebell for swings. 15 reps is a cursory number, the idea is not to do a crazy number of reps with a light kettlebell, because it will not optimally help improve your SBJ score.

Training for Kettlebell Swings and Squats

Kettlebell training consists of dynamic movements and is inherently dangerous when performed with bad form. It requires guidance (no, watching Youtube does not count) from certified trainers. Too many bad trainers turn the kettlebell swing into some bastardized child with a rounded back, or squatting instead of loading the posterior chain, or using their hands to pull up the bells. Learn from people who actually know what they are doing.

Here are some people who do know about kettlebells. There are others, but these places offer introductory classes, which will be sufficient to learn basic kettlebell form.

South: Fitness Elitez
East: The Fitness Protocol
West: AlphaFit

Kettlebell lifting is sensitive and it is challenging to prescribe a weight without knowing each person’s background of athleticism, body weight and height. However, here’s a quick guide that would fit most people.

How to choose kettlebell weight

New lifters should get the weight as follows:

For male body weight around 60kg : 16kg for swings, 12kg for lunges.
For male body weight 70kg & above: 20kg for swings, 16kg for lunges
For female body weight around 40kg : 8kg for swings, 6kg for lunges
For female body weight 50kg & above : 12kg for swings, 8kg for lunges

To buy Movement First’s AUKL certified kettlebells, please visit our online store here.

Training Protocol for SBJ

The human body is amazing. It becomes better and better if you give it a chance. Earlier, I mentioned about the OCS cadets jumping across the perimeter of the parade square. This is to train technique. However, technique has to be matched by reflexivity.

Technique

At the beginning of the session, do 8 jumps to the front landing gently into a squat (like a cat, not like a giant). At the end of every jump, think about how you could have made the jump better, with more tension in the back, or in the hamstrings, or for direction of jump to be higher or lower. Too high and you don’t get enough distance, too low and you hit the ground too fast.

Then, jump backwards 8 times landing into a squat. What is the rationale for this? Nothing exciting, but if you are going to train your neural pathways to be a better jumper, you should also balance opposing muscles, and also reflect after each jump how to make it better.

Technique training should always come before strength training, as technique should be fine tuned when all the muscles are fresh.

As this is essentially a strength training programme, you should feel soreness the next day in your muscles (not joints). Please rest for around 2 days before resuming this programme. If the weight gets too light, try doing a measurement jump, you will definitely see improvement. And yes, it is then time to upgrade your weight.

Strength

Swings

The ideal is to stress the muscles until fatigued, so it can come back strong. Pick a suitably heavy kettlebell, swing till muscle failure. The number of swings should be less than 15 reps. Repeat another 3 times.

Front Squats

Squat till muscle failure, repeat another 3 times.

Lunges

You can choose to either use 2 kettlebells in rack position, or hold one kettlebell by its two horns and lunge. Basically, whatever works for you! 

Think of lunges as single leg squats with support. Using a suitable weight, lunge till failure. Repeat another 3 times. Do take note that lunges is definitely harder than squats, so pick a lighter weight for lunges.

I really hope this tutorial is helpful for you. Any comments, drop me an email at hello@movementfirst.sg! Thanks!

Edit: A friend shared this very useful video that perfectly analyzes a standing broad jump. Do take a look as well!

To buy Movement First’s AUKL certified kettlebells, please visit our online store here.

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