Huge Calves= Huge Vertical Right?

In high school I bought into the famine that by doing calf raises I would get this massive vertical jump because calves are the number one factor in determining whether you have a big vertical or not.  I worked out my calves all the time sometimes making them the most important part of my lower body day!  I worked them beyond a fatigued stage.  I worked them until I cramped up in the calves.  So as a result I got a HUGE vertical and I was able to run an extremely fast 40 yard dash right?

Not so fast!  Having big calves have little to no effect on how high you can jump!  If you are looking to increase your vertical jump and are doing calf exercises as your main way to increase your jump you aren’t going to gain much in your jumping ability.  Sure you can work calf exercises in once in a while but do NOT make this your main focus.

“The posterior chain makes up for about 70% of the musculature which is responsible for your ability to jump.”  The posterior chain is a group of muscles, tendons, and ligaments on the posterior kinetic chain of the body.  Examples of the posterior chain are the biceps femoris, gluteus maximus, erector spinae muscle groups, and so on.

Lifts I have found to develop my posterior chain are box squats, good mornings (with bands), hyperextensions, and glute-ham raises to name a few.  So instead of doing calf exercises to overload the gastrocnemius muscles try a few of these exercises.  I have found first hand they have helped increase my vertical leap!  Ploymetrics and box jumps also helped increase my vertical jump.

There is another factor that plays a part in jumping and that is genetics.  Yes I said it; genetics plays a huge role in determining how high you can jump!  Some people have what Joe DeFranco refers to as having “high-cut” calves.  What he means by this is that your “calves will have a high insertion point very high on the lower leg.”  This usually results in a longer achilles tendon.  “Having a longer achilles tendon can store more elastic energy, which translates into more explosive jump.”  However, you can NOT increase the length of your achilles tendon.  So in turn PICK THE RIGHT PARENTS!

Jordan Anderson

Co-Owner Adande’s Gym

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Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Huge Calves= Huge Vertical Right?

  1. WadeE

    Very good! Its about time someone explained the genetics. Keep in mind, to improve something like vertical jump, it needs to be practiced. In other words repetitive vertical jumps added to your workout are a must.

  2. Thanks for the reply Wade. Very true about it being practiced! Repitition is very important because you have to keep repeting stuff to master it! Also keeping it low volume when you are doing jumping exercises because a) it won’t lead you to being sore for max effort lower body days and b) jumping exercises compliments max effort squatting by helping with flexibility and explosiveness.

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