I reached out to a few of my colleagues who are strength and conditioning coaches at major college programs around the country. I asked them, what is it that they look for when recruiting female athletes entering their programs. Majority of the coaches said it’s not about how much weight these young ladies can lift, pull, or carry. They’re more concerned about them being fit, mobile, and to have a solid level of conditioning. Of course, if she has participated in a strength and conditioning program prior to entering college, her chances of being able to participate sooner and compete on that level will be increased. As far strength training is concerned coaches would like to see their athletes be able to perform some of the basic strength movements such as, front/back squats, dead lifts, bench presses, and pullups. Being able to do these movements and doing them with good form and as well as going through a full range of motion is very important. Once an athlete is capable of performing these movements correctly, then and only then will weight be added to the movement. Some of the coaches have also expressed concern about the athletes having some level of base conditioning. Prior to entering college, they should have participated in some type of speed, change of direction and plyometric program. The last thing any athlete wants to do is to show up for training camp and not be in shape.
The posterior chain is so important, because it plays a vital role in not only jumping, but most athletic activities. Many athletes are under developed in the posterior chain. This is usually a side effect of the over emphasis on bodybuilding type training methods, that focus on looks and not enough on athletic training that helps to improve performance. The posterior chain is simply the backside of your body and its primary muscles include the lower back, gluteus maximus, hamstrings and calves. This area is often neglected and or untrained. When the glutes become inhibited the posterior chain will not function properly. The lower back and hamstrings then have to take on the work of the glutes, and along with these muscles being overworked the IT Band and the Piriformis also take on an additional load, leading to a variety of issues that can cause problems for the lower back, hips, knees, ankles and feet. The muscles of the posterior chain are important to jumping for several reasons. The first is that due to their size, they generally have the ability to generate a lot of power for you to jump. The second reason that they are so important is that the glutes have one of the highest ratios of fast twitch muscle fibers in the whole body. In terms of the actual jumping motion itself, the posterior chain acts as follows. As you bend your knees and descend down into the eccentric phase, the hamstrings contract. The stronger that your hamstrings are, the more force you will generate when you drop down. The quicker you can drop down, the higher you will be able to jump. On the upward phase of the jump, your leg muscles along with the muscles of your lower back work together to produce powerful contractions that extend the hips, knees and calves( this is also known as triple extension) and propels your body upward. The more power that these muscle produce, the more explosive your triple extension will be, which will allow you to have a higher vertical jump. A few good exercises to […]